The Covid-19 energency has delayed plans to award leases for a new fleet of offshore wind farms.
The Crown Estate, which owns the sea bed, said it now expects that invitation to tender stage one will open in the week commencing 30 March 2020. It has also extended the submission period by three weeks. The company said the delay was intended to “allow additional time and flexibility for bidders, while ensuring we can minimise disruption to the overall programme timeline”.
It did not rule out further delays, saying it would continue to monitor wider national and international situation closely and provide further updates where necessary. “In the event any further adjustments to the programme are required, we will provide as much advanced notice to bidders as possible,” it said.
The original 18-week ITT stage one process was due to open in February 2020 and close in June. In that phase The Crown Estate will assesses the financial and technical robustness of projects submitted by pre-qualified bidders. Projects that pass will be ‘eligible bidders with eligible projects’ that can take part in the ITT stage two bidding process. Under the planned schedule this will be a one to four week process in September.
In leasing Round 4, bidders will be seeking leases to develop at least 7GW of new projects. There arefour bidding areas: Dogger Bank; Southern North Sea, the Wash and East Anglia; the South East; and North Wales, Irish Sea and northern Anglesey.