The Crown Estate has delayed its planned offer of new leases for offshore wind projects (Round 4) so it can revise its tender process following market feedback. The next leasing round will now be in etc autumn.
The sea bed owner sought feedback from developers in a series of engagement events in November. It is now exploring changes in the commercial assessment phase at ITT (Invitation to Tender) that is says will introduce greater transparency for bidders and help inform their decisions on project location and option fee bid price.
Among expected changes:
- A new tender requirement to ensure that projects are awarded across a minimum of three seabed regions, so the project pipeline has geographic diversity.
- The option to bid for up to five variations of site boundaries, anchored at each of five locations, totalling a maximum of 25 possible site options.
- An increase to lease terms from 50 to 60 years.
Ongoing stakeholder engagement is continuing in parallel on plan-level Habitats Regulations Assessments, which will affect the seabed regions coming forward for Round 4.
Jonny Boston, business development manager at The Crown Estate, said:““While the additional work we are committing to at this stage requires us to revise our timescales for the launch of Round 4, we are confident that developers and stakeholders will value the time we are investing now to address their feedback, ensuring our final designs offer a robust and attractive proposition, supporting the continued growth of the UK’s world leading offshore wind sector.”
A further update will be made before the summer, once the revised tender design has been developed and stress-tested.
Scottish launch in October
Scotland’s new leasing round for offshore wind projects is likely to fully launch in October 2019, Crown Estate Scotland has announced. A ‘pre-launch’ in the summer which will provide further details.
The proposed timings are :
- Pre-launch to provide further information – July 2019
- Launch – October 2019
- Deadline for applications – between February and April 2020
- Offer of option agreements following publication of the Final Sectoral Plan adopted by Scottish Ministers – between May and July 2020
John Robertson, senior development mnager for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “We want to provide clarity around our leasing proposals. We’ll continue to liaise closely with the industry and others in the coming months, and we’ll confirm the exact launch date in due course.”
A full update can be found here .