Crown Estate cleared to go ahead with 8 GW of offshore wind leases

The Triton Knoll offshore wind farm. Source: RWE AG.

July 19 (Renewables Now) - The Crown Estate has been cleared to enter into lease agreements with the six fixed offshore wind projects totalling 8 GW that were successful in its Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4.

The body, which manages the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in April announced plans to proceed with the leasing round on the basis of a "derogation." The UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now agreed to that and the Welsh government has raised no objections.

The April decision followed the completion of a Habitats Regulations Assessment, which could not rule out significant adverse effects on two protected habitats. A steering group will therefore be set up to oversee the development and delivery of environmental compensation plans for each of the two affected sites.

The Crown Estate said that over the next few weeks it will contact the preferred bidders to confirm the next steps and that any agreements for lease awarded will secure the required environmental mitigation and compensatory measures.

“Today is a pivotal moment on the UK’s journey towards net zero, strengthening the potential pipeline of future offshore wind projects and building vital resilience in domestic renewable energy supply,” said the Crown Estate chief executive Dan Labbad.

The projects could start delivering power by the end of the decade.

According to the announcement, the UK now has an offshore wind pipeline of 43 GW in operation, construction and planning and an additional 37 GW from Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4, Scotwind leasing and the expected floating wind leasing in the Celtic Sea of up to 4 GW.

The outcome of Round 4 was announced in early 2021. Successful bidders include RWE Renewables and a consortium of EnBW and BP, both with two projects of 1.5 GW each.

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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