The Crown Estate Progresses Celtic Sea Floating Wind Leasing Consultation
The Crown Estate has completed the second phase of its ongoing engagement with the market and stakeholders on plans for up to 4 GW of floating wind leasing in the Celtic Sea.
Last month, the Crown Estate held a stakeholder workshop and reopened the market engagement, with the latter reaffirming “the strong appetite for early commercial and commercial scale projects” and endorsing the proposed “stepping stone” approach to leasing, according to the UK seabed manager.
The “stepping stone” approach to leasing in the Celtic Sea would see a focus on two key project categories: early-commercial scale projects (of circa 350 MW) and full-commercial scale projects (of up to 1 GW), to help enable greater regional supply chain participation.
The Crown Estate has been engaging with the market to invite views on a range of factors which influence the spatial design of project locations, their size, sequencing and timing. These include ports and supply chain, technology types, and electricity grid readiness.
Last month, the Crown Estate also hosted a workshop for stakeholders with an interest in the Celtic Sea, following an earlier engagement, which allowed the seabed manager to gather input on the criteria that will underpin the spatial design for floating wind leasing, to identify potential areas for wind development.
The areas identified through the spatial design work will then be taken forward as part of the integrated Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) and spatial refinement for the Celtic Sea leasing programme.
Another feedback included the need for investment in both UK supply chain and port infrastructure to help realize the scale of the ambition of the programme.
“The findings from these latest phases of engagement are extremely important in helping to meet the clear demand and potential for floating wind in the Celtic Sea, in coexistence with the myriad other important and complex interests and pressures on and offshore”, said Tim Stiven, Senior Development Manager for Marine at the Crown Estate.
The Crown Estate said it would continue to work with various specialist stakeholders with a plan to publish more details as the spatial design work develops in mid-2022.
The seabed manager is also considering pre-consenting survey work in the Celtic Sea, including further environmental and engineering surveys, to inform the design and accelerate the development of floating wind projects. The scope for these surveys will be defined in collaboration with market and stakeholders.
After initial engagement with government, stakeholders and the market last year, the Crown Estate published proposals for floating wind seabed leasing in the Celtic Sea in November 2021.
The leasing is aimed at unlocking up to 4 GW of new floating wind capacity in England and Wales, which could provide enough new capacity to produce enough clean electricity to power almost four million more homes
The projects selected through the leasing process would be delivered from 2030 into the early part of the next decade.
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