The Crown Estate Opens 4.5 GW Celtic Sea Floating Wind Seabed Leasing Round

The Crown Estate has published a concession notice confirming the launch of the Round 5 seabed leasing process for floating offshore wind projects in the Celtic Sea, under which leases for up to 4.5 GW of generation capacity will be awarded.

Issued on 28 February, the notice directs potential bidders to fill out a pre-qualification questionnaire, which is the first of the tender’s three stages. After the pre-qualification questionnaire stage is completed, a Stage 1 invitation to tender will be issued, followed by an invitation to tender Stage 2.

The Crown Estate published proposals for floating wind seabed leasing in the Celtic Sea in November 2021, saying the leasing could unlock up to 4 GW of new floating wind capacity in England and Wales. Since then, the UK’s seabed manager has been releasing details about the tender while working towards the launch of the procurement.

In October 2023, The Crown Estate said it would offer three Project Development Areas to bidders instead of the initially identified four areas, but that the capacity to be auctioned off would be increased from 4 GW to 4.5 GW.

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On 7 December 2023, The Crown Estate released further details about the tender and tender requirements, highlighting the work that was done to de-risk the process for developers and accelerate the deployment of projects.

As part of this new approach, a multi-million-pound programme of marine surveys of the designated areas was launched and a Plan-Level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) was carried out early on in the process.

This is the first time that The Crown Estate has undertaken the Habitats Regulations Assessment ahead of an offshore wind leasing process. This was designed to give bidders early visibility of the steps they will need to take to ensure conformity with the HRA, according to The Crown Estate.

The launch of the Round 5 procurement process comes shortly after the Plan-Level HRA for Offshore Wind Leasing Round 5 was concluded.

“The HRA will shape developers’ activity and direct them to undertake specific measures to mitigate the impact of their construction on birds and other marine wildlife,” The Crown Estate said on 12 February, when it announced completing the HRA.

Round 5 is expected to be the first phase of development in the Celtic Sea. In November 2023, the UK Government confirmed its intention to unlock space for up to a further 12 GW of capacity in the Celtic Sea. 


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