UK’s Crown Estate has announced that it is likely to offer rights to develop 7GW of new offshore wind capacity in its upcoming Round 4 offshore leasing.
Originally, Crown Estate had planned to award rights for 6GW of new offshore wind capacity but is likely to expand it by 1GW owing to strong market demand and the desire to have a sufficient pipeline in place.
The seabed manager said that it has identified five regions which will be included in plans for the new leasing round as they are technically feasible. Apart from that, the new regions are made up of sufficiently large areas of available seabed to be used for offshore wind development with lower levels of development constraint.
The five regions that will be included in Round 4 offshore wind leasing are Dogger Bank, Southern North Sea, East Anglia, North Wales and Irish Sea.
Crown Estate has shortlisted four other regions, which will go under further consideration. The regions in this category would need more work to build the evidence base and discussions with technical stakeholders about them to better understand the seabed resource and constraints before confirming their inclusion.
Included in the list are Yorkshire Coast, The Walsh, South East and Anglesey.
It has also announced the dropping of nine regions from Round 4 on the grounds that they are challenged by significant development constraints. Included in this list are Durham Coast, Thames Approaches, Kent Coast, West Isle of Wight and Northern Ireland among others.
Crown Estate senior development manager Jonny Boston said: “We are pleased to share the work we’ve undertaken since the summer to refine our initial proposals for Round 4, building on the extensive and constructive feedback we received from statutory bodies and the market.
“To reach this point, we’ve undertaken significant analysis, in close engagement with statutory stakeholders, to help build a detailed picture of seabed resource and constraints around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“We will continue to refine this work as we progress with our plans, helping build the evidence base to reduce consenting risk, balance a range of needs on the seabed, and ensure developers are well placed to bring the strongest possible projects forward”.
Crown Estate expects to launch its Round 4 offshore wind leasing in the early part of 2019 with an aim to maintain a pipeline of projects through to the late 2020s and beyond.