Accelerating the development of floating wind in Scotland

Environment, Community, Consents

The Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm (PFOWF) believes in an inclusive approach to developing offshore wind projects, ensuring that both local companies and communities benefit from the opportunities these projects bring.

We believe that engaging with local communities at an early stage in the project’s development will lead to a better project. We have reached out and met with local community councils, organisations and stakeholders and will continue to seek views throughout the development of the project.

Public consultation is an important part of the application process. Throughout 2021 and 2022 the project has undertaken an extensive public consultation process which has informed the project design.

Following this process, key changes were made to the final design of the PFOWF to minimise visual potential visual impacts. These include reducing the offshore site area for the turbines by 50% and the maximum number of turbines from ten to seven while still delivering the same power of around 100MW.

These changes mean the overall footprint of the turbines is more compact, reducing their spread and visual impact along the coastline and minimising any potential impacts to shipping, navigation, fishing activity and benthic ecology, marine mammals and ornithology in the area.

The offshore application for the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm was submitted to Marine Scotland in August 2022. The applications and supporting documentation, including the Environmental Impact Assessment Report, Non-Technical Summary, Habitats Regulations Appraisal (Report to Inform Appropriate Assessment) and public notice, is available from the Document Library and from Marine Scotland’s website.

The onshore application for planning permission in principle was submitted to The Highland Council in October 2022. The application and supporting documentation is available from the the Document Library and The Highland Council’s Consent Portal.

We are always keen to hear feedback on the project, please reach out to the project team on pentland-stakeholder@cop.dk.

Environmental Impact Assessment

A comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been undertaken by UK-based, internationally recognised, consultants for the onshore and offshore elements of the project. EIA is a process which identifies and assesses the potential significant environmental effects of a project, informs the design of the project from an environmental perspective, and sets out standard industry and additional mitigation measures to eliminate or minimise the project’s effect on the environment.

The project team will continue engagement with key environmental and conservation stakeholders and other relevant consultees throughout the determination process. Documents that have been prepared for the EIA application are available in the Document Library.


In order to understand the local environment, potential impact from the development and how the project can reduce and mitigate impacts, the Environmental Impact Assessments included the findings from a range of surveys and studies conducted in the local area.


Click on the icons of the image below for more information about each.

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A site walkover survey has been undertaken to ground truth the above ground elements and constraints of the onshore site. Additionally, onshore geotechnical site investigations and studies were completed to inform onshore cable routing activities and substation siting.

Socio-economic studies have been undertaken to quantify aspects such as potential for direct, indirect, and induced jobs and GVA associated with the development and operation of the proposed project. A supply chain study has also been conducted to identify benefits for the supply chain. 

A program of terrestrial ecology surveys were undertaken to identify the local wildlife and ecology including such species such as otters and bats, as well as any protected or sensitive habitats or flowers, such as bogs.

An archaeology and cultural heritage site survey was conducted to ascertain the position of any potentially vulnerable cultural heritage features within the onshore site.

Engagement with stakeholders, including local residents, community councils, local and national authorities.

A floating LiDAR buoy was deployed in order to ascertain metocean characteristics for the offshore site, this data will be used to ensure that the correct floating wind technologies are selected for the Project.

Benthic surveys were conducted offshore in order to obtain samples of the seabed to characterise the benthic habitats, macrofaunal species and the quaternary sediments to support the offshore EIA.

Aerial surveys were undertaken to identify seabirds and marine mammals including whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals in the vicinity of the offshore site.

In order to ascertain the potential visual impacts on static viewpoints a number of wirelines and photomontages have been created from all viewpoints to be assessed within the EIAs.

A high-level assessment of the turbine noise and potential impacts to receptors was undertaken, in accordance with relevant guidance.

A program of bird surveys was undertaken to identify the local ornithology features in order to support the offshore ornithology impact assessment. These surveys include terrestrial breeding bird surveys, breeding seabird surveys and wintering bird surveys.

Shore-based maritime traffic surveys (summer and winter) of the offshore site area was undertaken using a combination of radar, AIS and visual observations. These results from the surveys are used to understand the shipping activities in the vicinity of the development.

Geotechnical and geophysical surveys of the seabed were undertaken to assess the technical stability of the seabed in order to inform the installation requirements of the subsurface structures and export cable.

Engagement with local fisheries is being undertaken to understand how they use the offshore wind farm site, cable route and surrounding area.


Benefits

Skills Development

Scotland is already a world leader in floating technology due to its oil and gas maritime heritage and is an ideal place to develop floating wind technology. Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm is committed to supporting Scotland to develop a workforce with transferable skills and build on experience from heritage industries and growing national skills in this technology. 

Community

We want to ensure the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm provides long term benefits to communities local to the development. We are at the early stages of developing a Community Benefits Fund, which would likely become available on commissioning of the array project. Foundation Scotland has carried out a consultation on a proposed community benefit fund for the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm. More information about the consultation is available here.

Jobs and Local Economy

Pentland carried out a supply chain mapping exercise and local content assessment to understand regional capabilities and the geographical breakdown of project expenditure, supported by locally based consultancy Xodus and the University of the Highlands and Islands. It is expected Pentland will deliver lifetime expenditure of £419m GBP in the UK. This is in line with the project’s 40-60% lifetime UK content aim. Projections also show Pentland will support up to 1,300 FTE supply chain roles during construction and 85 FTE during operation of the project.

Developing the Local Supply Chain

Pentland has prepared a Supply Chain Development Statement to outline the project’s commitments to developing the local supply chain. The process has allowed us to understand the existing supply chain capabilities on offer, and the areas in which we can drive local expenditure, job creation and skills development and will enable us to have early visibility of future opportunities and engage with the supply chain as widely as possible. We also held a series of supply chain events across the UK in 2022 to introduce the project and outline the opportunities available to suppliers when the offshore wind farm is complete. These will be followed by further events in 2023 where tier one contractors will have the opportunity to meet the buyer and learn more about the work packages available.


Timeline

Q3 2020 – Q3 2021Offshore ornithology and marine mammals surveys
Q4 2020EIA scoping report submitted
Q1 2021 – Q4 2021Onshore ornithology surveys
Q2 2021 – Q3 2021Onshore ecology surveys
Q2 2021Geophysical surveys
Q2 2021Benthic surveys
Q1 2021 – Q3 2022Offshore EIA report preparation
Q2 2021 – Q4 2022Onshore application preparation
Q2 2021 – Q3 2021Seascape, landscape, and visual surveys
Q3 2021Geotechnical surveys
Q3 2021Receipt of EIA scoping opinion
Q3 2021Public consultation event 1
Q3 2021 – Q3 2022Metocean buoy deployed
Q3 2021 – Q4 2021Maritime traffic surveys
Q3 2021 – Q4 2021Onshore site investigations
Q2 2022Public consultation event 2
Q4 2022Submission of onshore application to Highland Council
Q2 2022Offshore geotechnical survey
Q1 2023Onshore consent determination
Q3 2022Submission of offshore application to Marine Scotland
Q1 2023Offshore Consent Determination
2024Commencement of construction
2026Completion of construction

Timeline is indicative and is subject to change

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