The United Kingdom’s Crown Estate has officially launched the Invitation to Tender Stage 1 for the fourth round of its leasing for seabed rights to develop offshore wind projects with between 7GW and 8.5GW on offer.
The Crown Estate, which manages much of the United Kingdom’s lands and offshore holdings, officially launched the Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 back in September 2019, but announced at the beginning of April 2020 the Invitation to Tender (ITT) Stage 1 for Round 4.
Already home to the largest amount of offshore wind in the world, with 9.3GW already operational, another 4.4GW currently under construction, and a further 20GW of projects in various stages of development (consented, in planning, or pre-planning). There is also another 2.8GW of approved extensions projects, putting the UK on track to deliver over 30GW by 2030.
Round 4 of the UK’s offshore wind leasing program will add at least another 7GW, and as much as 8.5GW, with leasing rights to be awarded as early as 2021, leading to projects reaching completion and operation by the end of the decade, “helping to meet UK energy needs for at least 60 years ahead,” according to the Crown Estate.
“It’s great to see the UK stepping up its ambition with a new round of offshore wind development now underway,” said Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive of industry body RenewableUK back in September.
“This will engender further momentum in our world-leading offshore wind sector, securing billions of pounds in investment in new infrastructure. These powerhouses of the future will create thousands of highly-skilled jobs, continuing the rapid regeneration of our coastal communities, as well as benefitting our UK-wide supply chain.”
The Round 4 Bidding Areas include the Dogger Bank Bidding Area; Eastern Regions Bidding Area; South East Bidding Area; and Northern Wales and Irish Sea Bidding Area.
“The UK is home to the world’s largest offshore wind market, attracting global investment, meeting UK electricity needs, and playing a crucial role in the transition to a net zero economy,” said Huub den Rooijen, Director of Energy, Minerals and Infrastructure at the Crown Estate.
“Leasing Round 4 is the next chapter in this remarkable transition, developed and refined through extensive engagement with the market and stakeholders, to deliver an attractive, fair, objective process, which helps to balance a range of interests in the marine environment.
“Round 4 projects will take the UK sector from strength to strength, delivering clean, affordable, home-grown electricity and joining a robust pipeline of projects in UK waters, which together will deliver a fourfold increase in operational offshore wind capacity by 2030.”