Crown Estate expands offshore wind leasing round to 7 GW

Image by: Crown Estate (www.thecrownestate.co.uk).

November 19 (Renewables Now) - The Crown Estate, which manages the seabed of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, on Friday said it could provide up to 7 GW of offshore wind rights in its upcoming fourth leasing round.

The proposal was unveiled at the Crown Estate’s latest stakeholder engagement event last week, during which it said it has refined its initial proposal for the leasing round following “strong market appetite and the desire to ensure a sufficient pipeline is in place.” As a result, it would likely lift the offered capacity from 6 GW to 7 GW.

Following a detailed analysis on the technical resource and respective constraints, which will be published later this month, the seabed manager has defined five zones that will be included in the round and four additional zones that will require further consideration so as to “build the evidence base” on seabed resource and related constraints and then make a final decision. Meanwhile, nine other regions will not be taken forward on the grounds of "significant development constraints" including visual concerns and shipping issues.

The following table shows more details about the areas in each of the three categories.

Proposed to be included Dogger Bank Southern North Sea 
East Anglia North Wales
Irish Sea
Under further consideration Yorkshire coast The Wash
South East Anglesey
Not being taken forward Durham coast Thames Approaches
Kent coast West of Isle of Wight
South West Bristol Channel (English)
Bristol Channel (Welsh) Cardigan Bay
Northern Ireland

According to the press statement, the available regions have also been extended to include water depths up to 60 metres, instead of the previously offered 50 metres, as a result of feedback from the industry.

The Crown Estate said it will continue to engage with technical stakeholders and gather evidence on the nine regions that will finally be part of the round four leasing. It will also undertake additional work on key issues of uncertainty after receiving statutory stakeholder feedback. An engagement event with the market is planned for November 26, on which further details on the proposed tender design will be provided.

“We will continue to refine this work as we progress with our plans, helping build the evidence base to reduce consenting risk, balance a range of needs on the seabed, and ensure developers are well placed to bring the strongest possible projects forward,” commented Jonny Boston, senior development manager at The Crown Estate.

Last month, the Crown Estate completed its initial assessment of the eight applications for offshore wind farm extension projects in the waters around England and Wales with a potential capacity of up to 3.4 GW. The projects will undergo additional assessment and, depending on the results, agreements for leases could be awarded in the summer of 2019.

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Veselina Petrova is one of SeeNews Renewables most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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