The Crown Estate has launched offshore wind and tidal stream leasing rounds to select developers for up to 800 MW of projects in Northern Ireland waters.
The Crown Estate engaged with the industry earlier this year, confirming market demand in two locations for development, which are now the focus of the leasing rounds: an offshore wind area off the southeast coast of County Down, which will be leased to a single development company to deliver up to 600 MW of generating capacity; and the Rathlin Island and Torr Head Strategic area, a single tidal stream area of up to 200 MW of capacity.
The sites will be leased to developers for the delivery of multiple projects, and applications will be invited for projects up to 100 MW.
Separate competitive tendering processes will be undertaken for the offshore wind and tidal projects, which will run in parallel. Tenders will be assessed on bidders' ability deliver fully operational projects by 2020, and a successful conclusion of the leasing rounds would see development rights awarded in the second half of 2012.
The leasing rounds seek to capitalize on Northern Ireland's marine renewable energy resources to help deliver Northern Ireland's target to significantly increase the amount of electricity consumption from renewable sources to 40% by 2020, the Crown Estate says.