Crown Estate targets five areas off Welsh and Cornish coast for floating offshore wind schemes
05 Jul 20223 minute read
Five areas in the sea off Cornwall and Wales have been mapped out for the development of floating offshore wind schemes, the Crown Estate said.
The organisation has identified five broad “areas of search” for developing the innovative technology, which can be deployed in deeper water with higher wind than conventional offshore wind farms, to support efforts to tackle climate change.
The areas are in the Celtic Sea, which the Crown Estate said was rich in natural resources including wind, and have been identified following technical analysis and engagement.
It comes amidst increasing calls for the Crown Estate to be devolved to Wales so that the fund can be invested in the devolved issue of renewable energy production rather than going to the UK Treasury and the Royal Family’s coffers.
However Greg Hands, the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth. recently told the Welsh Affairs Committee that he did not understand the need to devolve control over the Crown Estate to Wales.
The Crown Estate said that the plan for the areas identified was that they would deliver four gigawatts of floating offshore wind power by 2035 – providing power to almost four million homes.They will be refined into small project development areas within which the first generation of commercial-scale floating windfarms could be built, which will be open for competitive tender in mid 2023.
Research commissioned by the Crown Estate suggests a further 20 gigawatts of floating offshore wind capacity could be established in the Celtic Sea by 2045.
The areas take account of navigation routes, fishing activity and environmental issues, the Crown Estate said.
Huub den Rooijen, managing director marine at the Crown Estate, said: “The Celtic Sea has the potential to become one of the great renewable energy basins of the world, bringing economic growth and abundant clean power.
“This leasing round is a first step, and we need to work together to bring technology costs down, deliver environmentally sound solutions and respect the needs of the many other users of the marine space.”
Greg Hands, the UK Government’s energy and climate change minister, said: “We already have the largest offshore wind deployment in Europe. Floating technology is key to unlocking the full potential of our coastline.
“We want to deliver up to 5GW of floating offshore wind by 2030. These projects can help power millions of homes with clean, and cheaper, renewable energy, reducing reliance on expensive fossil fuels.”
The value of the marine holdings held by the Crown Estate, including much of Wales’ seabed, has jumped 22% in a year.
The Crown Estate reported annual results on last month, generating £313m in net revenue profit for the public purse in the year to the end of March.
That was a £43m improvement on the prior twelve months.
The value of the estate’s portfolio also jumped in the period, rising more than 8% to £15.6bn, driven by an increase in the value of the company’s marine holdings, which include most of Wales’ seabed, which jumped 22 per cent to £5bn.
As it stands 75% of the profit made by the Crown Estate will go into the UK Treasury and 25% into the Queen’s own coffers.