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The Crown Estate plans for floating wind leasing in UK

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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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  • Nov 11, 2021
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Movement on floating wind in the UK ScotWind is due to publish next stage proposals in q1 2022 and here's news from the other end of the UK with the Crown Estate's proposals for floating wind in Celtic Sea, outlining the 4GW opportunity

The Crown Estate has published further detail on its plans for floating wind leasing in the Celtic Sea, confirming its ambition to unlock up to 4GW of new clean energy capacity in England and Wales and help establish a new industrial sector for the UK.

 

The leasing process will deliver enough new capacity to provide clean power for almost four million more homes, in support of the UK’s net zero target, as well as creating opportunities for significant new investment in jobs, skills, and infrastructure.

The proposals, published today, follow engagement with government, stakeholders and the market, and include: 

  • A focus on two key project categories - early-commercial scale projects (of circa 300-350MW); and full-commercial scale projects (of up to 1GW).
  • Leasing designed at a pace and scale to support supply chain and infrastructure development, helping to underpin a sustainable future for the sector, and ensure Wales, the South West, and the wider UK benefit from the industrial opportunity.
  • A revised approach to spatial design and Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), which will see The Crown Estate conduct an integrated spatial design and Plan-Level HRA ahead of market tender, to identify key environmental issues at the earliest opportunity, helping to de-risk investment, minimise environmental risk, and streamline the overall programme.
  • Work with Electricity System Operator and others to support a coordinated grid solution for floating wind projects, in line with the work underway through the Offshore Transmission Network Review, to accelerate grid development and mitigate impacts on communities onshore.

The leasing process could see rights awarded by the end of 2023, with projects delivered from 2030 into the early part of the next decade.

The proposals for floating wind leasing in the Celtic Sea reflect The Crown Estate’s evolving approach to leasing offshore, which is designed to help address the strategic challenges facing renewable energy projects in our increasingly complex marine environment. These include the need to mitigate cumulative pressures on coastal and marine habitats, deliver socio-economic benefits for communities, while minimising the impact of infrastructure, and improve coordination with other industries and activities at sea.

The approach is also designed to help support the sustainable development of the floating wind sector in the UK over the long-term, creating a pipeline of opportunities at a pace and scale which creates the confidence needed to support project competitiveness, enable continuing market and technology development, and unlock growth and investment in the UK supply chain and supporting infrastructure, such as ports and grid connections.

In order to facilitate these outcomes, The Crown Estate will now begin the next stages of its engagement with market and stakeholders on the floating wind programme, which will take place in two phases over the winter of 2021/22.

  • Phase one of this engagement will focus on the spatial design, gathering data and evidence to help inform the location of project sites.
  • Phase two will invite views on the design of the market tender and the wider considerations of the programme, including on supply chain, ports and grid, as well as community benefits, such as skills and employment.

To ensure a coordinated approach to assessing potential environmental impacts, the Llŷr and Whitecross test and demonstration scale projects (announced earlier this year) will form part of the Plan-Level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) for floating wind in the Celtic Sea. 

 

Stay up to date through me and with over 400 insiders at the: Floating Wind and Hydrogen Professionals Group 

 

 

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