Finding space for offshore wind

Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme: finding space for offshore wind

Offshore wind has an important role to play in helping the UK to achieve net zero by 2050. With other infrastructure requiring access to the same seaspace and onshore areas, new offshore wind development needs to be planned and delivered in co-ordination.

The programme is working to increase strategic coordination of different activities and interests in the seaspace and onshore, opening up new opportunities for offshore wind through safe and responsible co-location and innovation, allowing multi-use of space. 

Future Offshore Wind Scenarios

This UK-wide study is assessing the different areas that could potentially accommodate future offshore wind projects up to 2050, and the different forms that development could take, for example using a fixed or floating wind farm design. 

The study will test different factors, such as cost, the environment and technology, as well as  the impact these have on deployment. The project started in February 2021 and is due to be completed in spring 2022.

Project led by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland with consultancy support from Arup, ABPmer and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult; and advisory support from a wide range of stakeholders form across the offshore wind sector, other marine industries and environmental agencies.

Air Defence Concept Demonstration

The Ministry of Defence and the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) are working together with The Crown Estate, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and OWIC developer members to mitigate the impact of wind farms on air defence radar systems.

This project is testing a series of concepts and technologies including new radars which show potential to distinguish between wind turbines and aircraft in a more sophisticated way than before. 

The project is part of a wider work package which aims to deliver an initial Air Defence & Offshore Wind Mitigation Strategy & Implementation Plan in the second half of 2021 to unlock a significant pipeline of new offshore wind farm sites.

A major project milestone occurred in September 2021 with the launch of the Air Defence and Offshore Wind Strategy and Implementation Plan at RenewableUK’s Global Offshore Wind conference, providing an update on progress and highlighting the importance of strategic collaboration to address the challenge of co-location. It also identified specific surveillance technology that could be introduced to radar systems to more accurately distinguish wind turbines from aircraft. Further updates are expected in 2022.

The project is funded by The Crown Estate, the Aviation Investment Fund Company, and Offshore Wind Industry Council members including Equinor, Orsted, RWE Renewables, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables and Vattenfall Wind Power.

Strategic East Coast Spatial Study

The seabed around the east coast of England has extraordinary potential for offshore wind development.

This project aimed to improve the understanding of the constraints that offshore wind farms in the region are likely to face when connecting into the electricity network and whether alternative approaches to connection can reduce community and environmental impacts. It looked at options for better coordination, land and sea infrastructure and connections into the national grid. You can read the summary report here.

It will contribute to the current Offshore Transmission Network Review and other programmes. Offshore Wind Evidence and Change programme members will work with industry, Government, broader stakeholders and departments to share the findings and explore how, together, we can deliver coordinated outcomes for the benefit of the nation.

Project led by The Crown Estate, National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), National Grid Electricity Transmission, and the Marine Management Organisation with consultancy support from AECOM.

Virtual offshore wind planning fund

The fishing industry and fisheries have an important role to play in unlocking the potential of the UK seaspace for offshore wind. This series of workshops is led by The Crown Estate, in partnership with the National Federation of Fisheries Organisation (NFFO). The workshops are delivered by the NFFO and are aimed at improving understanding of fisheries, sharing knowledge, and integrating fisheries into the planning for new offshore wind growth.

Alongside the review of existing data, the workshops will explore issues around co-location, the tides and other matters to improve knowledge and understanding of fisheries within the Offshore Wind and Marine Planning sectors.


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