Crown Estate Looking for New Developer of 99MW Blyth Offshore Wind Project
The Crown Estate is kick-starting the search for a developer to take forward the Blyth Offshore Wind Demonstrator, the UK's largest consented offshore wind demonstration site.
The decision to offer the site to the market has been taken in consultation with Government and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, which recently merged with the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), the organisation that brought the site through to consent.
Adrian Fox, Programme Manager for Supply Chain and Technology at The Crown Estate said: "With consent already granted, this project represents a fantastic opportunity for industry to invest in developing new technologies which will ultimately contribute towards growth in the sector by unlocking new areas of resource and driving costs down. We are keen to see development at Blyth come forward at the earliest possible opportunity and offering the project to the market will mean developers with the necessary resources now have the chance to access the most advanced demonstration site in UK waters."
The site, which is around 14 sq km in size, received planning consent for a 99MW offshore wind demonstration project in November 2013, making it the most promising test and demonstration site currently available in the UK.
The scheme has the potential to make a valuable contribution towards meeting cost reduction targets for 2020 if investment from a committed developer can be secured quickly. To achieve this, the Crown Estate is asking for expressions of interest from developers capable of delivering an operational project by 2016/17, with a view to running a tender process once the level of market interest has been established.
An operational demonstration project at Blyth will allow developers to access a site where they will be able to deploy innovative new devices in deeper waters. These technologies could one day be incorporated into commercial projects to unlock new areas of resource and drive down costs associated with offshore wind development, facilitating future growth in the sector.
Driving cost reduction through the development of new technologies is a key aim for both industry and Government. The Government and Industry's Industrial Strategy sets out a clear imperative to support and deliver innovation facilitated through offshore test and demonstration sites.