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Floating Wind Leasing Round in the Celtic Sea

December 7, 2023

Image courtesy RenewableUK Cymru

The Crown Estate, which manages the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has set out further details of a new leasing round for three commercial-scale floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea off the coast of South Wales and South West England. The projects have the potential to deliver enough clean, renewable energy for more than four million homes.

In one of the largest initiatives of its kind in the world, sites totalling 4.5GW of floating wind off the coast of South Wales and South West England will be leased across three agreed areas of the Celtic Sea. This is now expected to be the first of more leasing rounds covering the region, with the UK Government confirming in its Autumn Statement the intention to unlock up to a further 12 GW of capacity in the Celtic Sea.
The Crown Estate’s Information Memorandum published today sets out the contractual commitments bidders will need to follow to be successful in next year’s upcoming Leasing Round 5. These include incentives to engage local supply chain companies and drive social and economic value to the region, including:

  • A timely commitment for ports, to give those suitable for FLOW deployment the confidence they need to invest in the necessary infrastructure up front.  
  • Contractual commitments to generate positive social and environmental impacts. One of these areas will focus on skills and could include innovative new funding models from developers to help train young people through apprenticeships.
  • Allowing developers to deliver projects in up to three phases of at least 300MW, to help incentivise the ‘stepping stone’ approach to stimulate long-term local supply chain development.

The memorandum also gives more detail about the ways The Crown Estate is looking to de-risk and support the development of a new floating wind market in the UK, including a commitment to reduce the financial risk for bidders through a 50% reduction in annual option fees if a project is subject to undue delays during the consenting process.

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