The UK Crown Estate today released a map with five “areas of search” in the Celtic Sea that have been identified as suitable for the deployment of floating offshore wind turbine capacity.
The parcels represent broad areas that are expected to accommodate 4 GW of floating offshore wind farms and potentially deliver electricity by 2035. According to the plan, the specific sites, picked by the UK seabed landlord and government agencies, will be subsequently refined into smaller project development areas and offered through a competitive leasing tender, scheduled to kick off in the middle of 2023.
The process will target 1-GW-scale projects that can be developed either in a phased or a stepping stone approach. In order to reduce the environmental risks, the competition will be preceded by a plan-level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) that will set the stage for offshore survey works. It will aim to evaluate the potential impacts of the leasing plans on the habitat. Depending on the outcome, the seabed manager will in 2023 confirm rights for three separate demonstration areas that will host smaller-scale developments with the aim of facilitating the larger rollout of projects.
The proposed leasing opportunity will enable developers to couple their projects with innovative technologies such as green hydrogen production.
The Celtic Sea is estimated to be offering an economic potential for an additional 20 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2045, the Crown Estate said.
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