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Offshore Wind Journal

6 GW of offshore wind rights up for grabs in UK’s Round 4

Fri 19 Oct 2018 by David Foxwell

6 GW of offshore wind rights up for grabs in UK’s Round 4
Combined, UK Round 4 and extensions to existing offshore windfarms could add around 10 GW of capacity

The Crown Estate in the UK is launching a second phase of engagement with the market and stakeholders on new offshore wind leasing, following a positive market response to its initial proposals.

The first round of engagement, which took place in July 2018, was attended by more than 100 industry representatives and 25 statutory stakeholders.

Market feedback confirmed an appetite for at least 6 GW of new seabed rights, and support for The Crown Estate’s proposed leasing model, whereby developers identify their preferred sites within broad regions of seabed. It also saw support for its intent to share detailed seabed data for available regions (including GIS analysis, constraints assessment and stakeholder feedback) to help inform developers’ selection of sites and reduce consenting risks.

In early October 2018, The Crown Estate completed an initial assessment of offshore wind extension applications, confirming that the eight proposed projects, representing up to 3.4 GW of potential new capacity, have satisfied the application criteria.

Market participants also provided detailed and constructive feedback on a range of other subjects, including on the proposed leasing model, scale and frequency of potential new leasing, spatial considerations, size and type of projects and timeline to tender.

Having reviewed this feedback, along with contributions from statutory stakeholders, The Crown Estate will now present its updated proposals to the market, statutory stakeholders, and for the first time, a broader group of non-statutory stakeholders, to seek their views.

The updated plans will include further details on the regions where The Crown Estate proposes to offer new seabed rights, which have been reviewed and refined with statutory stakeholders, as well as further details on the proposed tender design. 

The market session, targeted at potential leasing process participants, will take place on 26 November. Details for how to register for this event will be available on The Crown Estate’s website later this month. Engagement with statutory stakeholders and non-statutory bodies will continue in parallel.

Following this second phase of engagement, The Crown Estate intends to confirm plans for a new offshore wind leasing round, to be known as Round 4. This could be launched in the early part of 2019, maintaining a pipeline of projects through to the late 2020s and beyond.

The Crown Estate senior development manager Jonny Boston said, “We’ve seen a really encouraging response to our proposals for new leasing, demonstrating continued confidence in the UK as a brilliant place to invest in offshore wind.

“As we progress our proposed tender design, we’ll continue to work closely with the market and stakeholders to ensure that new rights provide an attractive and competitive offer, while ensuring we balance a range of interests on the seabed, helping deliver the UK’s transition to a low-carbon energy mix.” 

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