Crown Estate Scotland has launched a £500,000 (€557,000) fund to go towards sustainable development of offshore wind in the country as part of its net zero commitment.
The funds comprise £300,000 for Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC) projects and £200,000 for environmental research.
Earlier this year, Crown Estate Scotland launched ScotWind Leasing, the first offshore wind leasing round in Scottish waters for a decade.
ScotWind is designed to deliver a multi-billion pound investment opportunity as part of Scotland’s green recovery, Crown Estate Scotland said.
SOWEC was established in partnership between the public sector and the offshore wind industry to co-ordinate a Scotland-wide response to the Offshore Wind Sector Deal and focus on specific shared priorities in Scotland.
The awarding of SOWEC funding will be linked to criteria which includes aligning with the goals of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, Crown Estate Scotland’s corporate objectives as well as the supply chain development aspect of the ScotWind Leasing process.
SOWEC proposals must also be able to demonstrate increased opportunity for collaboration with other industries or sectors in particular those linked to “energy transition, “blue economy”, or “net zero”.
The £200,000 portion of the fund will be granted to five research projects with Marine Scotland to improve understanding of the potential environmental impacts of offshore wind projects on birds and marine mammals.
These research projects will be jointly managed by Crown Estate Scotland and Marine Scotland as part of their Scottish Marine Research programme (ScotMer).
The projects will focus on improving the evidence base and developing assessment methodologies to support robust decision-making for the next generation of offshore wind projects, Crown Estate Scotland said.
Crown Estate Scotland marine director Colin Palmer said: “Offshore wind represents a huge opportunity for Scotland which will help us move towards net zero while also boosting the green economic recovery and bringing economic benefits to communities.
“Having already launched a leasing round set to attract up to £8bn in investment, we are today going even further and providing direct support for initiatives which will improve understanding and capability of how to secure the sustainable growth of the sector.”