January 27 -- UK’s Crown Estate has sealed landmark agreements for offshore wind energy to power seven million homes.
The Crown Estate signed agreements for lease for six offshore wind projects which could begin to generate green electricity by the end of the decade and have the potential to generate 8GW of renewable electricity, enough for more than seven million homes.
Three of the six projects are located off the North Wales, Cumbria, and Lancashire coast, and three are located in the North Sea off the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coast.
The agreements are the culmination of The Crown Estate’s Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4, adding further strength to the offshore wind sector’s track record in leading the UK's net zero energy transition. Round 4 follows three previous leasing rounds which awarded rights totaling 41GW.
With agreements signed, developers can now further progress their plans for the projects which have the potential to make a major contribution to delivering sustainable, renewable energy for the UK, as well as the Government’s target of 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.
“The UK’s offshore wind achievements to date are nothing short of remarkable, and this next generation of projects point to an even more exciting and dynamic future. They demonstrate the far-reaching value that our world-class offshore wind sector can deliver for the nation: home grown energy for all, jobs and investment for communities, revenue for the taxpayer, clean energy for the benefit of the environment and a considerate, sustainable approach which respects our rich biodiversity. Moving forward, working with our stakeholders to continue unlocking this value is what drives us, and we are more committed than ever to lead the way in ensuring this important benefit is realized for our environment and for the nation,” Dan Labbad, CEO of The Crown Estate, said.
“Today marks a significant milestone for the UK on the road to net zero, unlocking green energy potential for more than seven million homes and demonstrating to the world that the UK offshore wind industry is growing at pace to help meet the climate challenge. As we face up to energy, climate, and biodiversity challenges, we will continue to convene the best minds and support new technologies which will help realize the potential of the seabed as a key component of the UK’s renewable energy system; a home to a thriving natural environment; and a route to energy security. I’d like to thank all those who have collaborated with us on this leasing round to ensure the UK continues to lead the way in rebalancing energy provision away from fossil fuels for the benefit of present and future generations,” Gus Jaspert, Managing Director, Marine, at The Crown Estate, added.
"Britain's position as the European leader in offshore wind shows no signs of letting up. These six projects demonstrate how areas across the UK can contribute to ensuring Britain meets its world-leading ambition of deploying up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030. Offshore wind is at the heart of our goal to secure clean, affordable, and resilient energy supply for all in the UK, while bringing major business, investment, and job opportunities along with it,” Minister for Energy and Climate Graham Stuart stated.
“Today’s announcement is an important step forward - not just to deliver sustainable future sources of energy but also for the Welsh economy and communities. We are determined to make the most of opportunities afforded by the urgent need to scale up renewable energy generation to transition away from fossil fuels and believe offshore wind will play a major role in the future energy system in Wales. We have a high level of ambition for the sector, and we are looking to maximize the employment opportunities across the supply chain and continue to work with The Crown Estate to deliver on our ambitions,” Julie James, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change, said.
The Crown Estate will now establish a Steering Group for each of the protected sites, comprising government and statutory nature conservation bodies and the relevant project developers, which will drive the development of the detailed plans to ensure appropriate delivery of the commitments made by The Crown Estate through its plan-level HRA.
From the first leasing round in 2001, The Crown Estate has supported the development of a world-class offshore wind market, which has grown to become the largest source of renewable electricity in the UK, currently able to power approximately 41% of UK homes. This continued momentum along with today’s announcement, has led to The Crown Estate awarding rights for 41GW of offshore wind capacity, almost 12GW of which is already operational.
Ambitious plans to deliver an initial 4GW of floating offshore wind energy capacity in the Celtic Sea by 2035. In addition to this, Crown Estate research has indicated the economic potential to accommodate up to an additional 20GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2045.
Under the agreements for lease, The Crown Estate receives an annual option fee from each project developer, until they are ready to enter a lease for the seabed site. Option fees will contribute toward The Crown Estate’s net revenue profit, 100% of which is paid to the UK Treasury. ?
The total commitment across all six projects is approximately £1 billion per year, reflecting the confidence in the UK’s offshore wind sector. The term of the agreement for lease is for a maximum of ten years. Successful bidders have committed to at least three years of option payments, and the option payments reduce as a project moves into a lease and cease when a lease for the maximum capacity or whole site is granted, at which point developers will move to paying rent.