Leasing Round 4
Unlocking new areas of seabed for the generation of low-carbon energy for millions more homes by 2030
A sustainable clean energy future
The UK has the largest operating offshore wind capacity in the world, a national success story to be proud of. With strong market appetite for new offshore wind in UK waters, and clear backing from Government, the time is right to bring forward additional seabed rights – helping to unlock this increasingly important source of renewable energy and support the UK’s clean energy future.
Round 4, our first leasing opportunity of this scale in a decade, creates the opportunity for at least 7GW of new projects in the waters around England and Wales, delivering a robust pipeline for low-cost offshore wind deployment.
Find out more through the Information Memorandum, which provides an overview of the UK market and The Crown Estate’s role, alongside a detailed summary of the design and structure of Leasing Round 4.
29 November, 2019 - The Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) submission period for Round 4 has concluded. We have now moved into the assessment phase and will notify Bidders of the outcome once this is complete. You can read more about our tender process and timeline in the Information Memorandum.Find out more through the Information Memorandum
Information for potential bidders
With long coastlines, favourable wind conditions and, in many areas, shallow waters, the UK offers world-class natural resources for offshore wind, supported by a stable policy outlook, mature supply chain, and a clear route to seabed rights.
In designing Leasing Round 4, we have worked to deliver a world class process that is fair, transparent and accessible to a broad range of developers – reflecting the increasing maturity of the UK offshore wind market.
To assist potential bidders in their preparations for Round 4, we have published a number of resources in our Round 4 document library, including:
- Information Memorandum, which provides an overview of the UK market and The Crown Estate’s role, alongside a detailed summary of the design and structure of Leasing Round 4.
- Characterisation Area Reports, which share the data and analysis we have undertaken to assess available resource for Round 4 offshore wind development
- Link to our Open Data Portal, which hosts the GIS shapefiles for Leasing Round 4 (including Bidding Area boundaries, Characterisation Areas, and hard constraints)
We will manage the Round 4 pre-qualification and tender submissions process through our web-based Jaggaer eTendering Portal*.
Following conclusion of the tender process and project award, The Crown Estate will undertake a plan level Habitats Regulations Assessment, to assess the possible impact of the proposed sites on the relevant nature conservation sites of European importance.
Subject to this assessment, new seabed rights could be awarded as early as 2021, with developers then progressing to seek planning consent for their own projects through the statutory planning process.
*Please note that we will only consider applications that are made using this portal. The Crown Estate reserves the right to refuse access to the eTendering Portal to any person or legal entity that The Crown Estate considers, in its absolute discretion, does not have a genuine intention to, or is not eligible to, participate in Round 4 with the aim of securing seabed rights to develop an offshore wind farm.
On 9 October 2019, we hosted a ‘Bidders Information Day’ for potential participants in Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 and their advisors. Participants were provided with more detail about the tender process, as well as providing the opportunity to put questions to The Crown Estate team.
Slides and a recording of the presentations, as well as a summary of the Q&A, are available to view in the ‘Resource’ pane.
Our engagement journey
Since our last major leasing round, which took place almost a decade ago, the UK offshore wind market has matured and evolved significantly. Recognising this, we have been actively engaging with the industry and stakeholders since early 2018, to explore the scale, location and nature of new leasing and seek views on our approach.
This feedback has been instrumental in helping us to devise and refine our proposals for Round 4 while balancing a broad range of interests in the marine environment.
November 2017Announced intention
September 2019Launch of Round 4
Analysing the seabed
The UK seabed is an increasingly busy space, with demands ranging from cables, pipelines and sand & gravel extraction, to navigation, fisheries and aquaculture, as well as the need to maintain an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas.
In planning for Round 4, we have sought to balance the broad range of interest in the marine environment, engaging closely with the market and stakeholders and building a detailed evidence base to identify areas of seabed that offer the most favourable development resource.
This evidence base has informed our refinement of the areas of seabed being made available to the market, within which, prospective developers will have the opportunity to identify and propose project sites.
You can find the details of our work in our Resource and Constraints Assessment Methodology Report, Characterisation Areas Reports, Regions Refinement Report and Summary Stakeholder Feedback Report in the Round 4 document library.
More details on our work
Seabed Bidding Areas
Bidding Area 1
The Dogger Bank Bidding Area, located off the north east coast of England, offers a large area of potential development resource (approx. 22,000km2) and is located furthest from shore (almost 300km at the furthest point). Water depths are generally shallow and most parts of the Bidding Area have a water depth in the range of 20m to 40m, making it well suited to lower cost, fixed foundation offshore wind technologies, with some deeper sections, particularly in the north.
Bidding Area 2
The Eastern Regions Bidding Area, comprising the Southern North Sea region, the eastern part of The Wash region, and the East Anglia region, offers a large area of potential development resource (approx. 20,000km2). Water depths are generally shallow (with an average water depth of 33m), making it well suited to lower cost, fixed foundation offshore wind technologies.
Bidding Area 3
The South East Bidding Area, located off the south coast of England, covers an area of approximately 7,000km2. The Bidding Area has an average water depth of 37m, with most of the Bidding Area within the 30m to 50m depth range, making it well suited to lower cost, fixed foundation offshore wind technologies.
Bidding Area 4
Northern Wales & Irish Sea
The North Wales and Irish Sea Bidding Area, comprising the North Wales and Irish Sea region, and the northern part of the Anglesey region, covers an area of approximately 8500km2. The Bidding Area has an average water depth of 34m, with most of the bidding area within the 30m to 50m depth range, making it well suited to lower cost, fixed foundation offshore wind technologies.
The four available seabed Bidding Areas for Leasing Round 4 are: Dogger Bank, Eastern Regions, South East, and Northern Wales & Irish Sea.
Click on each seabed Bidding Area to find out more.
You can also view a PDF of the seabed Bidding Areas map here.
For GIS shape files of the seabed Bidding Area boundaries, Characterisation Areas, and hard constraints, please visit our Open Data Portal.
Information for stakeholders
A broad range of stakeholders, including government bodies, regulators, and statutory nature conservation bodies, have provided valuable feedback and evidence, to help inform our work to develop and refine the scale, form and location of Leasing Round 4’s proposed seabed regions. In addition to this, we’ve also engaged with wider stakeholders to keep them informed as our proposal evolved.
A detailed overview of this work is provided in the Summary Stakeholder Feedback Report and the Regions Refinement Report. These are available in our Round 4 document library, along with reports setting out further details on the methodology, analysis of Characterisation Areas, and link to GIS shapefiles.
Following the completion of the Round 4 tender stage, The Crown Estate will undertake a plan level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). Further information on our approach to HRA can be found in the Round 4 Information Memorandum, available in the library.
As prospective developers prepare their project proposals, we encourage them to engage with a wide range of stakeholders to inform their projects. When seeking development consent following the award of seabed rights, successful project developers will further engage with relevant stakeholders through the statutory planning process.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in England, and Welsh Ministers in Welsh waters, are responsible for the marine planning process. As the manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we continue to engage in regular and ongoing interactions with regulators and marine planning authorities to align future leasing opportunities with offshore wind policy within current and future Marine Plans, find out more here.
On 1 October 2019, we hosted a webinar to provide an overview of our 18-month engagement with stakeholders, and a summary of how we have used their feedback to shape our analysis and work on seabed regions refinement. We also shared the timeline for Round 4 and our continued work in offshore wind development. The slide deck for this presentation is available here, and a summary of the Q&A is available here.Round 4 document library
Through leasing Round 4 and beyond, we remain committed to building the foundations for the continued growth of UK offshore wind. The resources below focus on sharing of knowledge, data and research, and our work on investing in a programme of strategic enabling actions, to continue building the evidence base in the sector and enable sustainable and coordinated growth.
The Crown Estate Open Data Portal
Our Open Data portal provides access to our published maps and GIS data along with some of the web applications that are used to make this information available to the public.
Marine Data Exchange
Access our information hub of survey data and reports collected by our offshore renewable and marine aggregate customers.
Strategic Enabling Actions
In support of Government's Offshore Wind Sector deal and our focus on enabling continued sustainable development offshore, we have undertaken to fund a programme of strategic enabling actions, to help advance the evidence base and inform the future use of the sea-space.