Crown Estate Details Round 5 Plans
The Crown Estate has revealed further details of the Round 5 offshore wind leasing, which will offer three commercial-scale floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea.
Located off the coast of South Wales and South West England, the sites will have a combined capacity of up to 4.5 GW, enough to supply four million homes with renewable energy.
The new wind farms are expected to be the first phase of commercial development in the region, with the UK Government confirming as part of its Autumn Statement in November its intention to unlock space for up to a further 12 GW of capacity in the Celtic Sea.
New details about the Round 5 auction include upfront investment in important workstreams to de-risk the process for developers and accelerate the deployment of projects.
This includes a multi-million-pound programme of marine surveys to better understand the physical and environmental properties around the locations of the new wind farms, as well as carrying out a Plan-Level Habitats Regulations Assessment early on in the process.
An Information Memorandum published today, on 7th December, also includes details of a series of contractual commitments for developers to create positive social and environmental impacts, focused on skills and training, tackling inequalities in employment, environmental benefits, and working with local communities.
In addition, bidders will be required to demonstrate commitments for the timely access to the port infrastructure needed to develop their projects, the Crown Estate said.
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The organisation, which manages the seabed around England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, has commissioned new research, due to be published in the new year, to provide a view on how best to maximise the economic and social benefits arising from Round 5 and the longer-term sustainable development of the offshore wind industry.
The Crown Estate has also outlined its intention to bring forward a new pilot fund to help accelerate supply chain projects, with an initial focus on opportunities arising from Round 5 with further details expected to be set out in the first part of 2024.
“Today’s plans will build on the Government’s ambition to deploy up to 5GW of floating offshore wind by 2030. Together with The Crown Estate I look forward to bringing more capacity online, through our plans to see up to 16GW deployed in the Celtic Sea through the 2030s,” said Graham Stuart, UK Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.
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