The Crown Estate has set out further details on its plans for new floating offshore wind turbines off the coast of Wales and South West England in Offshore Wind Leasing Round 5.
Round 5 is expected to be the first phase of development in the Celtic Sea, where The Crown Estate said it is working to de-risk developments to speed up deployment. This includes investing in an upfront Habitats Regulation Assessment, a programme of marine surveys and working with the Electricity System Operator on a coordinated approach to grid design.
After engaging with developers and wider stakeholders on proposals set out in July over how to make best use of available space in the Celtic Sead, The Crown Estate has confirmed that:
• Three Project Development Areas (PDAs) of roughly equal size are expected to be made available to bidders, as opposed to the previously proposed four PDAs of varying sizes
• No bidder will be able to secure an Agreement for Lease for more than one PDA
• As a result of bringing forward three equal-sized PDAs – each with a potential capacity of up to 1.5GW – the overall capacity available through Round 5 has increased from a possible 4GW to up to 4.5GW, enough to power more than 4 million homes
An Information Memorandum is expected to be published before the end of this year ahead of the formal start of the leasing round.
The Crown Estate has also updated developers on marine surveys, which began on 24 September. Aerial surveyor HiDef is using specially-equipped aeroplanes to gather data on the sea birds and marine mammals around the project sites and more widely in the Celtic Sea.
Gus Jaspert, Managing Director Marine at The Crown Estate, said: “Round 5 is set to be one of the biggest projects of its kind in the world, and will be a game changer for the UK’s energy security and net zero ambitions. It also stands to be transformative for communities across South Wales and South West England.”