Crown Estate launches “Offshore Wind Leasing Round Four”

The Crown Estate, which manages the UK sovereign’s public lands, is commencing work leading up to the offering of what will be the largest leasing opportunity for commercial floating wind projects.

To be located in the Celtic Sea (the area of the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of Ireland bounded to the east by Saint George’s Channel), the lease area will be three times larger than any rights previously awarded for floating wind in the UK. A total of six projects are progressing with each approximately 300MW in scale.

The Crown Estate in December 2020 asked for views on how best to accelerate the development of floating wind in the UK. It has said that the comments received indicated that the market was confident that current floating wind technology would enable the sector to move to the next phase and deploy early commercial-scale projects.

RenewableUK’s Head of Policy and Regulation, Rebecca Williams, said that “the Crown Estate is creating an exciting opportunity for renewable energy developers in the Celtic Sea, which will help the UK to maintain its global lead in floating wind”. She added that there was “a huge appetite within the industry to deploy this innovative technology. Floating wind is essential for the UK to reach its legally-binding net zero emissions target by 2050 – we can’t get there without it.”  

Huub den Rooijen, Director of The Crown Estate’s Energy, Minerals, and Infrastructure portfolio said that he views floating offshore wind as the next frontier of the UK’s clean energy ambitions.