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Marine-i airs support for Crown Estate's plan for floating offshore wind

Jack Wride
Authored by Jack Wride
Posted: Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 09:39

Marine-i has welcomed proposals announced by the Crown Estate for floating offshore wind leasing in the Celtic Sea.

These proposals have been made as part of the growing Celtic Sea Cluster announced earlier this year that has been established to help drive market creation for floating wind through industry collaboration.

According to Celtic Sea Cluster’s website, floating offshore wind is expected to contribute to the creation of more than 29,000 UK jobs and deliver a projected £43.6bn in UK gross value add (GVA) by 2050.

The Crown Estate, in charge of managing the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland on behalf of the Queen, have plans that focus on two key project categories: early commercial-scale projects of 300-350MW and full commercial-scale projects of up to 1GW.

They have said that rights for the leases could be awarded by the end of 2023, with the delivery of projects from 2030 into the early part of the next decade.

Crown Estate marine managing director Huub den Rooijen says: “Floating wind technology offers a powerful opportunity to open up the renewable energy resources of the Celtic Sea, helping to tackle the climate crisis with additional clean power and ignite a new industrial sector. We are focused on realising this potential in a way that supports the development of the regional supply chain and infrastructure, protects our marine environment, and harnesses the opportunity for local communities.”

The Crown Estate’s proposals also take in to account the work already being done through the Offshore Transmission Network Review, which looks into the way that the offshore transmission network is constructed and distributed. Working with the electricity system operator and neighbouring regions, they will support a joint grid solution for floating wind projects which should accelerate grid development and limit the impact on communities onshore.

The next stage of the programme will take place in two phases over the winter of 2021/22. In this stage the Crown Estate will engage with market and stakeholders, first focusing on the spatial design, gathering data and evidence to help inform project site locations. This will be followed by views on the design of the market tender and the wider considerations of the programme: supply chain, ports and grids, community benefits and environmental risks.

Prof Lars Johanning, Programme Director for Marine-I, says: “These proposals represent an important step forward in the goal of developing floating offshore wind power in the Celtic Sea. This technology could have a huge impact on the economic prospects of our region. We have access to one of the world’s best locations for floating offshore windfarms, and the local engineering expertise to build them. We and the UK Government believe this technology will play a crucial role in delivering our country’s goal of a Net Zero economy by 2050.”

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