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Calls for expressions of interest in offshore wind off-grid projects and project variations

18 July 2013

Offshore wind farm jacket supports

As part of the offshore wind test and demonstration leasing programme launched in June, we are calling today for expressions of interest in non-grid connected (off-grid) projects and variations to existing offshore wind projects.

The Crown Estate manages the UK seabed, investing alongside renewable energy developers to facilitate the growth of the UK's low carbon economy. This test and demonstration leasing programme forms a key part of our response to the challenge of bringing down deployment costs, in line with the recommendations of DECC's offshore wind cost reduction taskforce.

Aiming to encourage investment in a range of projects and further accelerate testing of emerging technologies, we are calling for expressions of interest over the next eight weeks, until 11 September 2013, for the following areas.

Off-grid projects: approximately 30 per cent of cost reduction initiatives identified in the 2012 offshore wind cost reduction taskforce report don't require a turbine or grid connection. Off-grid projects will allow the test and demonstration of aspects of the offshore development process. By leasing specific sites for projects which don't involve a grid connection and a turbine, sites can be smaller, cheaper and easier to consent, thereby making delivery timescales much faster. This should enable the test and demonstration of novel technologies and processes such as new foundations, cable laying and operations and maintenance procedures.

Project variations: aimed at applicants without a site but a defined test and demonstration project, or current seabed right holders who would welcome a test and demonstration project, to express interest in collaborating on joint projects. Existing rights holders could co-locate the testing and demonstration of emerging technologies with their commercial scale projects by granting the flexibility for investment in projects alongside existing schemes.

Working with existing rights holders should enable projects to be delivered quicker and more effectively than via the development of new facilities on separate seabed locations. Floating wind projects embedded within, or adjacent to, an existing project may be submitted as project variations.

Further information

Applicants for project variations and new off grid sites should register on The Crown Estate's tender portal at:

E-tender site

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