The Crown Estate has launched its Round 4 offshore wind leasing competition for the rights to develop at least 7GW of new capacity off England and Wales.
The Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) has hailed today’s launch as a major step forward.
The Crown Estate, which acts as manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is making four broad areas of seabed available to the market, within which potential developers will have the opportunity to bid for project sites.
Today’s launch follows over 18 months of engagement with the market and stakeholders through which The Crown Estate has developed and refined its proposals.
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”.
The Crown Estate’s Round 4 tender process, which will commence in October 2019, and run until autumn 2020.
Of the 18 seabed regions initially identified, 10 have been excluded from the offer to market from Round 4, and a further 4 regions have been trimmed, through a two-stage regions refinement process.
In total, the Round 4 tender process is expected to take approximately 12 months, followed by a Plan-Level HRA of an approximately equivalent period.
In support of Round 4 leasing and beyond, The Crown Estate will invest in a programme of strategic enabling actions to help build high quality data and evidence, to advance the understanding of offshore wind deployment and the impact on the marine and on-shore environment, particularly around cumulative environmental impacts.