Energy Offering 2019: Frequently asked questions
The following is a list of answers to frequently asked questions about details of the Energy Offering.
Can we apply at Step 2 for a site we did not submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) for?
Applications will be permitted only where the specific developer submitted an EoI for the specific site and the specific technology type.
Can you supply information about sites that will be excluded?
The Offering covers any renewable energy technology and storage, so it is not possible to provide maps of excluded sites at this stage. For those interested in specific technologies, such as wind, there is a list and map on our website showing the schemes in planning or beyond and developers will have access to other information, for example SNH, which they should use to determine the sites applied for. We included the EoI step to avoid significant work for applicants at an early stage.
What are the legal and other restrictions that could preclude sites from being progressed?
Some examples, which are not complete or definitive, are leasehold property, existing options and leases, statutory designations incompatible with a development and rare or threatened habitats.
If the EoI form states just one form of technology, does that limit the developer to submitting a bid for just that technology at that location or is it possible to widen the scope at the Step 2, should opportunities for further technologies become apparent?
The EoI form had the capacity to include multiple technologies in the comments field and we expected this to be considered at this stage. However, certain regulatory matters are still under consideration and we would expect to be able to take these into account if relevant. The key requirement is for the same information to be made available to all applicants, so they are competing on the same basis.
Was there a limit on the number of sites that could be applied for at EoI?
There was no limit, but the form accepted a maximum number of sites. Where necessary, another form could be submitted, with the applicant’s details repeated.
Is there a limit on the number of sites we can apply for at Step 2?
There is no limit, but a lot more work is required at this stage and FLS reserves the right to limit the number of sites allocated to a developer, in order to match the resources available for both the applicant and FLS, in order to complete site investigations and legal processes to reach agreement on an Option for each site within 12 months of the site being awarded.
Can we appeal against a site being rejected at EoI stage?
We will not provide reasons why a site or a technology is rejected and there will be no appeal mechanism.
When notifying interest, do we simply indicate the entire boundary of the relevant site or forest block?
Developers will have to make that decision, depending on the technology, as competing applications may be for different technologies, as well as different developers. It could also influence the assessment of capacity of FLS and developer.
Will any special consideration be given to developers who demonstrate proposals that would act as extensions to operational or planned projects neighbouring FLS land?
Extensions of immediately adjacent operational sites are already eligible to approach FLS. Any other proposals will be considered in conjunction with other EoIs through the Energy Offering.
Will there be another stage whereby questions can be asked to FLS, for example, during Step 2?
We will always answer questions, where possible, aiming to update the published FAQ as required.
Can you provide any advanced indication of the likely scoring criteria and weighting ahead of Step 2?
The principles we work to are set out clearly on our website and in policy documents and we will provide full details at Step 2.
Is it still intended that the standard documentation provided at Stage 2 will be non-negotiable?
While customisation will always be required, the principles on which these documents are based have been used for a number of years and achieved widespread acceptance within the industry.
Will there be an element of community ownership with any sites that are taken forward?
Offering community ownership is likely to be one of the criteria to be scored in the evaluation, but this will be clear in the Application Form, including the weighting of each question.
In addition to shared ownership, will there be an expectation of a community benefit fund based on a flat rate also being required?
Community benefit of £5k/MWi will be a requirement, to comply with Scottish Government policy.
If there is only one EoI, will the party be automatically awarded exclusivity over that site?
Each application will still have to go through the evaluation process to determine whether it can progress and it may be that a minimum score is required. If approved, negotiations would begin with that one applicant, but there is no guarantee that we could reach mutual agreement to proceed.
Are there any restrictions on FLS on passing existing survey data to developers as part of the Step 2 process to help with the formation of a bid?
FLS will try to make available information that is in the public domain, but the majority of investigation must be carried out once the site has been allocated.
Will a list of interested bidders be published by FLS after EoIs have been submitted?
The list of EoI bidders is intended to remain confidential, though FLS is subject to Freedom of Information requests. Much of the information submitted would normally be considered commercially confidential.
Is Step 3 exclusive prior to option award or can more than one developer develop proposals in this time?
It is feasible that some technologies will be compatible to investigate at the same time, but site safety is essential, so there may be requirements about how this is done.
What criteria will be used at Step 3 to determine whether to move to Option?
It is only at Step 3 that detailed investigations will be made, both into title restrictions and site matters. This stage will see close co-operation between developer and FLS staff to see if mutual agreement can be reached.