UK to increase offshore wind capacity

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The Crown Estate today launched its round three leasing programme for the delivery of up to 25GW of new offshore windfarm sites by 2020.

The Crown Estate said in a statement that it would soon invite potential partners to bid for development zones identified through spatial planning by The Crown Estate and the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) being undertaken by the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR).

The Crown Estate will co-invest up to 50 per cent of the cost of obtaining planning consents for windfarm sites. Selected partners will be expected to assume responsibility for construction and operation of the sites.

Round three builds on the 8GW of offshore windfarm projects currently under development, which will be delivered by rounds one and two. If successful, the addition of the capacity from round three would lead to a potential total of 33GW of wind energy coming from offshore wind resources.

‘The government has committed to challenging carbon targets and wind energy is the only renewable technology that can deliver the required quantity by the required timescales,’ said Rob Hastings, The Crown Estate’s director of marine estates. ‘The new approach to the deployment of offshore wind that The Crown Estate have set out today requires us take an important facilitating role in which we will share developer’s risk. For the first time we will be investing directly in offshore windfarm development. We will be helping to identify suitable sites and working closely with commercial partners who we expect to make considerable capital investments in offshore windfarm assets.’