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Floating offshore wind

The UK is the global leader in offshore wind deployment, with a flourishing sector that is delivering clean, reliable power, green jobs, and making a vital contribution to the UK’s clean energy transition. 

Floating wind represents the next frontier in this green growth story, with the UK Government already committing to 1GW of floating wind by 2030.  As managers of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we are committed to delivering a new leasing opportunity in the Celtic Sea, working with the market and stakeholders, to unlock the potential of floating wind technology in this important region.

 

Early-commercial scale and full-commercial scale projects

The Crown Estate has published detail on its plans for floating wind leasing in the Celtic Sea, confirming its ambition to unlock up to 4GW of new clean energy capacity in England and Wales and help establish a new industrial sector for the UK.

The leasing process will deliver enough new capacity to provide clean power for almost four million more homes, in support of the UK’s net zero target, as well as creating opportunities for significant new investment in jobs, skills, and infrastructure.

The proposals follow engagement with government, stakeholders and the market, and include: 

  • A focus on two key project categories - early-commercial scale projects (of circa 300-350MW); and full-commercial scale projects (of up to 1GW).
  • Leasing designed at a pace and scale to support supply chain and infrastructure development, helping to underpin a sustainable future for the sector, and ensure Wales, the South West, and the wider UK benefit from the industrial opportunity.
  • A revised approach to spatial design and Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), which will see The Crown Estate conduct an integrated spatial design and Plan-Level HRA ahead of market tender, to identify key environmental issues at the earliest opportunity, helping to de-risk investment, minimise environmental risk, and streamline the overall programme.
  • Work with Electricity System Operator and others to support a coordinated grid solution for floating wind projects, in line with the work underway through the Offshore Transmission Network Review, to accelerate grid development and mitigate impacts on communities onshore.

The leasing process could see rights awarded by the end of 2023, with projects delivered from 2030 into the early part of the next decade.

Next steps

The Crown Estate is now set to commence the next stages of its engagement with market and stakeholders on the floating wind programme, which will take place in two phases over the winter of 2021/22.

  • Phase one of this engagement will focus on the spatial design, gathering data and evidence to help inform the location of project sites.
  • Phase two will invite views on the design of the market tender and the wider considerations of the programme, including on supply chain, ports and grid, as well as community benefits, such as skills and employment.

Test & demonstration projects

The Crown Estate is also supporting pre-commercial, smaller projects, which are an important part of developing new technologies for a range of seabed conditions and locations.

The existing pipeline of more than 400MW of test and demonstration scale floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea have the potential to support the Government’s target to deliver 1GW of floating capacity in the UK by 2030, and comprise:

  • The 96MW Erebus floating wind project, in the Welsh waters of the Celtic Sea
  • The 30MW Wave Hub site off the coast of Cornwall
  • The 100MW White Cross project, located off the coast of Devon and Cornwall (subject to HRA)
  • The Llŷr 1 and Llŷr 2 projects, comprising two separate 100MW sites, located to the south of Pembroke on the Welsh coast (subject to HRA)

The overall UK pipeline includes a further 80MW of operational floating wind in Scotland, in the Hywind and Kincardine projects, with further potential through ScotWind leasing.

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