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09 March 2022

The Crown Estate progresses market and stakeholder engagement for floating wind plans in the Celtic Sea

The Crown Estate has now completed phase two of its ongoing engagement with the market and stakeholders, seeking input to plans for up to 4GW of floating wind leasing in the Celtic Sea.

Last month, The Crown Estate hosted a workshop attended by over 70 stakeholders with an interest in the Celtic Sea, including representatives from environmental, fishing, marine and ports organisations, as well as Government.

The stakeholder event, which built on earlier engagement with stakeholders and the market, was an opportunity to receive input on the criteria that will underpin the spatial design for floating wind leasing, to identify potential areas for wind development.  The areas identified through the spatial design work will then be taken forward as part of the integrated Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) and spatial refinement for the Celtic Sea leasing programme.

This ongoing stakeholder engagement is an important part of ensuring that protecting and, where possible, enhancing coastal and marine environmental habitats, which is at the heart of the leasing approach.

The Crown Estate has also been engaging with the market to invite views on a range of factors which influence the spatial design of project locations, their size, sequencing and timing. These include ports and supply chain, technology types, and electricity grid readiness.

This recent market engagement, which was reopened in February, reaffirmed the strong appetite for early commercial and commercial scale projects.  It also endorsed the proposed ‘stepping stone’ approach to leasing, which would see a focus on two key project categories: early-commercial scale projects (of circa 350MW); and full-commercial scale projects (of up to 1GW), to help enable greater regional supply chain participation.

Through the engagement, the market also shared views on:

  • Preferred floating wind technology types
  • How to deliver a coordinated grid solution, to help accelerate grid development and mitigate impacts on communities onshore
  • The need for investment in both UK supply chain and port infrastructure to help realise the scale of the ambition of the programme

Tim Stiven, Senior Development Manager for Marine at The Crown Estate, said:

“Floating offshore wind has the potential to play a pivotal role in meeting the UK’s net zero goals, delivering clean energy in new areas offshore, and creating new jobs and growth in a burgeoning industrial sector.

“We are committed to collaborating with stakeholders and the market throughout this journey and are grateful to those who have taken the time to engage with us.

“The findings from these latest phases of engagement are extremely important in helping to meet the clear demand and potential for floating wind in the Celtic Sea, in coexistence with the myriad other important and complex interests and pressures on and offshore.”

In total, industry representatives and Celtic Sea stakeholders from around 100 organisations have participated in the engagement to date. 

The Crown Estate will now continue to engage with a range of specialist stakeholders on key topics including defence, navigation, fisheries, cables and biodiversity with further information to be published as the spatial design work develops in mid-2022.

The Crown Estate is also considering pre-consenting survey work in the Celtic Sea, including further environmental and engineering surveys, to inform the design and accelerate the development of floating wind projects.  The scope for these surveys will be defined in collaboration with market and stakeholders.

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