Photo: Hywind Scotland (Source: Equinor)

The Crown Estate starts preparing new floating wind lease

The Crown Estate is commencing work to design and deliver a new leasing opportunity for early commercial-scale floating offshore wind projects in the Celtic Sea.  

The leasing process will focus on projects of circa 300 MW in scale, which is up to three times larger than any rights previously awarded to floating wind in the UK.

The Crown Estate will also explore how best to support pre-commercial,  smaller projects that are an important part of developing new technologies for a range of seabed conditions and locations. 

Additionally, potential ways of promoting more collaborations across the sector will be explored in order to accelerate development, as well as what other enabling actions could be taken to facilitate the sector.

The news on the new leasing process follows The Crown Estate’s invitation to the market to gather views on how best to accelerate the development of floating wind in the UK.

Input from over 30 market participants and other stakeholders was reviewed and showed that there is strong interest in new floating wind rights and in project locations in the waters offshore South Wales and the South West peninsular.

Feedback confirmed that the market is confident that current floating wind technology will allow the sector to move to the next phase and deploy early commercial-scale projects , as well as that there is appetite to develop projects that are around 300 MW.

The Crown Estate will provide further details on leasing design in the coming months. 

“Floating offshore wind is the next frontier of the UK’s clean energy ambitions, offering an exciting opportunity to deliver more green energy, in new areas offshore,” said Huub den Rooijen, Director of The Crown Estate’s Energy, Minerals and Infrastructure portfolio.

“As a technology that will be important for the UK’s pathway to net zero, we are focused on helping to unlock its potential in a way that is sensitive to our precious marine habitats, considers interactions with other uses of the sea, and is compatible with other critical processes such as the tender for Leasing Round 4.”