July 26 (Renewables Now) - The Crown Estate, which manages the seabed of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said today that a potential new offshore wind leasing round could provide 6 GW of offshore wind rights.
According to the body, at such a scale, a new leasing round will support the industry's ambition for 30 GW of offshore wind capacity in the UK by 2030.
The Crown Estate unveiled the proposal as part of its first phase of engagement on the potential new leasing round. It held sessions over the past three days with industry representatives and statutory stakeholders. A second stage of engagement is expected in the autumn and the potential leasing round could begin in early 2019, according to an announcement today. This would maintain a pipeline of projects through to the late 2020s and beyond, the seabed manager said. The Crown Estate announced it would consider making new seabed rights available for offshore wind projects in November 2017.
Under the Crown Estate's early plans, developers would identify and propose sites within predefined but relatively wide regions of seabed and the leasing process would be open to both existing developers and new entrants. The Crown Estate would also aim to share new seabed data ahead of the leasing process to help reduce consenting risk.
Jonny Boston, senior development manager at the Crown Estate, said that the early engagement helps to better understand the appetite for additional capacity and inform how a tender process might run.
Earlier this week, the UK government announced plans to hold Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions for offshore wind and other "less established" technologies every two years and said the first one is expected to take place by May 2019.