The Crown Estate has launched a new seabed leasing round for at least 7GW of offshore wind development around England and Wales.
It is making four broad areas of seabed available to the market under the Round 4 tender process. which will start in October 2019 and run until autumn 2020.
The leasing scheme will enable the development of electricity generation capacity that is enough to meet the needs of more than six million homes.
A three-stage tender process will take place. evaluating both bidders’ capability and their proposed projects. with developers encouraged to incorporate technological innovations within their projects.
They will have the opportunity to propose hybrid projects. such as those that integrate offshore wind with interconnection or other energy generators.
The round focuses on water depths out to 60 metres. which are suitable for fixed foundation technology and offers extended 60-year lease terms.
Huub den Rooijen. Director of Energy. Minerals and Infrastructure at the Crown Estate said: The UK is home to the world’s largest offshore wind market. attracting global investment. meeting UK electricity needs and playing a crucial role in the transition to a net zero economy.
Leasing Round 4 is the next chapter in this remarkable transition. developed and refined through extensive engagement with the market and stakeholders. to deliver an attractive. fair. objective process. which helps to balance a range of interests in the marine environment.
Round 4 projects will take the UK sector from strength to strength. delivering clean. affordable. home-grown electricity and joining a robust pipeline of projects in UK waters. which together will deliver a fourfold increase in operational offshore wind capacity by 2030.
Business. Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng welcomed the news.
He said: With more seabed available for new projects in our thriving offshore wind sector. we will be able to go even further in decarbonising our energy system – crucial as we aim for net zero emissions by 2050.
The UK now gets over a third of its electricity from renewables and this announcement means that we’re on track for even more clean energy in the years to come.
Projects awarded through the latest round will join a robust pipeline of offshore wind in UK waters. with 9.3GW already operational and 4.4GW currently under construction.
A further 20GW of projects are in the development pipeline.