Crown Estate Doubles Funding for Program Aimed at Enabling Coexistence of Offshore Wind and Marine Environment

June 6, 2022

Credit;  Ian Dyball/AdobeStock
Credit; Ian Dyball/AdobeStock

The Crown Estate for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland said Monday it has committed £50million (around $62,7 million) to enable the coexistence of offshore wind farms with a thriving marine environment.

Since the launch of the UK Government’s British Energy Security Strategy - which raised ambitions for offshore wind generation to achieve up to 50GW by 2030 alongside commitments to environmental restoration - The Crown Estate has committed a further £25 million into its Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme, bringing the total investment intent up to £50 million, the Crown Estate said.

"The program is gathering and harnessing the necessary data and evidence to propel forward the growth of UK offshore wind at pace, while maintaining clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse seas," the Crown Estate said.

The program is being delivered in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), working with Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Ireland government bodies, regulators, NGOs and a broad range of industry representatives.

According to the Crown Estate, there are 23 projects in the current portfolio representing £33milion of funding - £22million from The Crown Estate's core investment fund, and £11million of co-funding or in-kind contributions.

"The projects are helping to find space in a busy seabed through spatial coordination and co-location; and are designed to inform policy and regulation to enable a more integrated design of wind farms and the natural environment. This includes potential environmental compensatory measures to address environmental impacts and support timely and informed decision-making," the Crown Estate said.

Additional funding

The additional funding is planned to be used to deliver research and data projects that support the acceleration of offshore wind deployment including projects that address priority bird, marine mammal, and seabed habitat research gaps identified in year one of the program. 

There will also be a renewed focus on floating offshore wind and cable infrastructure. In direct response to the British Energy Security Strategy, alongside the focus on strategic compensation, the program will support the work of the government’s new Marine Recovery Fund and the implementation of nature-based design standards, Crown Estate said.

The program links in closely with the UK Government’s Marine Spatial Prioritisation Programme which is gathering further data and building evidence; as well as a number of other related industry initiatives, such as those led by Renewable UK, the Offshore Wind Industry Council, and the Seabed User and Developer Group.

Dan Labbad, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate, said: "As the need to accelerate offshore wind deployment ramps up, restoring our natural environment has never been more important. We are committed to safeguarding the marine environment whilst shaping, innovating, informing and enabling the development of offshore wind for the long-term benefit of the nation. By doubling our investment in the Offshore Wind and Evidence program, we can continue to provide world-class data and evidence to support both government and the industry in making the best decisions to unlock the pathway to net zero, in harmony with healthy, biodiverse seas."

 



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