The Crown Estate has received eight applications to extend existing wind farms offshore the UK by a total of 3 gigawatts (GW) capacity.
The Crown Estate, the manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will now assess the applications and decide in summer 2019 on making formal offers to the applicants to develop the sites. The deadline to apply for offshore wind farm extensions ended on Thursday, 31 May.
Given the presence of multiple applications, The Crown Estate will also consider the need for a plan level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA).
“Today’s announcement shows that there is huge appetite to invest in new offshore wind in the UK, which could create thousands of jobs and provide cheap power for consumers,” RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said.
”This new capacity could help deliver the industry’s vision for offshore wind as the backbone of a clean, reliable and affordable energy system.”
Currently, there is 7.1GW of operational offshore wind capacity in the UK, with a further 2.6GW under construction and a further 3.6GW that will be built out by 2024.
In November 2017, The Crown Estate announced that it will be working with the offshore wind sector and stakeholders over the course of 2018 to consider making new seabed rights available to offshore wind developers.
The announcement followed the government’s backing for offshore wind in the Clean Growth Strategy, which sets out that the UK could support another 10GW of offshore wind in the 2020s, with the opportunity for more if it’s cost effective.
Will Apps, Head of Energy Development at The Crown Estate, said: “Extension projects have the potential to make an important contribution to the UK’s offshore wind pipeline, in line with the sector’s growing ambitions and in advance of potential new leasing. Over the coming months we will work closely with the successful applicants and our stakeholders to ensure careful consideration of environmental impacts and existing seabed users interests, ahead of any award of rights.”