The Crown Estate has announced that it will be working with the offshore wind sector and stakeholders to consider making new seabed rights available to offshore wind developers.  The Crown Estate is responsible for managing the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The announcement follows the Government's backing for offshore wind in the Clean Growth Strategy and recognises the industry's ongoing development of an ambitious Sector Deal for offshore wind. It also follows the recent 'Contracts for Difference' auction which demonstrated significant cost reduction.

UK success story

Huub den Rooijen, Director of Energy, Minerals and Infrastructure at The Crown Estate, said: "Offshore wind is a fantastic UK success story. We have some of the best resources in the world and the sector is on course to meet 10% of the UK's electricity demand by 2020.

"With costs continuing to come down at a pace and Government looking at further opportunities for additional offshore wind deployment in the 2020s, it is the right time to consider what additional seabed rights may be needed to help secure the UK's clean energy future."

Clean Growth Strategy

Energy Minister, Richard Harrington, said: "The offshore wind sector in the UK has shown great ambition and is bringing forward clean energy projects that could power more than 3 million homes, at half the cost achieved in previous auctions.

"Our Clean Growth Strategy 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. This announcement today is an important step towards these future projects."

Will Apps, Head of Energy Development at The Crown Estate, added: "We will work with the sector and stakeholders over the course of 2018 to shape potential new offshore leasing activity. This will consider the scale, form and location of new rights to enable sustainable deployment to 2030 and beyond."

RYA Position

The RYA acknowledges the Government's desire to promote renewable energy, however we are keen to ensure the navigational safety of recreational boating around the coast.

We regularly monitor the development of seabed areas leased by The Crown Estate in order to assess their potential impact on recreational boating and we regularly meet with developers to discuss recreational navigational safety and respond to national consultations on behalf of recreational boating.

In addition to awarding rights to the seabed, The Crown Estate collaborates with the offshore wind sector and stakeholders to address common challenges and share best practice, helping to attract investment and bring down costs.

More detail regarding future offshore wind leasing activity will be released in early 2018.