Photo: The Crown Estate

UK launches offshore wind growth and marine protection programme

The UK Government and The Crown Estate have launched a new partnership focused on the growth of the local offshore wind sector and protecting and restoring the marine environment.

The Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme will be led by The Crown Estate, which has committed to a five year GBP 25 million kick-starter investment, alongside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as strategic partners.

Over a five-year period, the programme’s research and data projects will provide insights to help the sector better understand and address environmental considerations and interactions with other industries and activities, both around the coast and offshore.

This is expected to enable a more coordinated and strategic approach to the delivery of the new infrastructure required to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050, ensuring the sector can deliver at pace while protecting the broader natural environment.

Initial projects coming forward include the East Coast Grid Spatial study which will help build an understanding of the interactions that future offshore wind farms on the east coast of England are likely to face when connecting into the electricity network and whether alternative approaches can reduce community and environmental impacts.

The second project, named Future Offshore Wind Scenarios, will develop and examine spatial scenarios, to better understand the opportunities for future offshore wind deployment.

“Recognising the crucial role of the nation’s seabed on our path to net zero, I’m delighted to launch this new partnership which will help lay sustainable foundations for the next phase of the offshore wind success story, in a way which will help us to maintain healthy, biodiverse seas,” said Dan Labbad, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate.

“The partnership will be at the centre of how we ensure a more coordinated approach to delivering the infrastructure that will be required to tackle climate change.”