The Crown Estate, a collection of lands and holdings in the U.K., says it is commencing work to design and deliver a new leasing opportunity for early commercial-scale floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea.
The leasing process will focus on projects of circa 300 MW in scale – up to three times larger than any rights previously awarded to floating wind in the U.K. – demonstrating a new commitment to the sector and an important step towards the government’s ambition to deliver 1 GW of floating wind by 2030.
The news follows The Crown Estate’s invitation to the market, in December 2020, to come forward with views on how best to accelerate the development of floating wind in the U.K., including welcoming feedback on the potential scale and location of future rights and the best route to help build the related supply chain.
“The Crown Estate is creating an exciting opportunity for renewable energy developers in the Celtic Sea which will help the U.K. to maximize the potential of floating wind,” says Rebecca Williams, head of policy and regulation for RenewableUK. “There is a huge appetite within the industry to deploy this innovative technology. Floating wind is essential to reach the U.K’s legally-binding net-zero target by 2050 – we can’t get there without it.”
This leasing process builds on The Crown Estate’s work to support the development of floating wind technology through its test and demonstration opportunity, which last year awarded rights to developers Blue Gem Wind, for the proposed 96 MW Erebus floating wind project in the Welsh waters of the Celtic Sea.
Alongside its work to design this early commercial-scale floating wind leasing opportunity, The Crown Estate will also explore how best to support pre-commercial, smaller projects that will continue to be an important part of developing new technologies for a range of seabed conditions and locations.