Celtic Sea floating projects get Crown Estate approval

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 27/07/2021 Crown Estate
The Crown Estate has announced that 300MW of new projects, identified through its test and demonstration leasing opportunity, have been given the green light to progress to the next stage of assessment.

The three projects, each located in the Celtic Sea, have satisfied the initial application criteria set out by the Crown Estate, demonstrating technical competence, delivery capability and technological innovation.

The next stage will see the projects subject to plan-level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) to assess possible impacts on protected marine habitats. Subject to the outcome of this assessment, the applicants could then be granted seabed agreements for lease.

The three projects include the 100MW Whitecross project, located off the coast of Devon and Cornwall, which was brought forward by Offshore Wind Limited, a Joint Venture between Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, S.A. and Flotation Energy plc.

The Llŷr 1 and Llŷr 2 projects, comprising two separate 100MW sites, each testing different technologies, located south of Pembroke, on the Welsh coast, were brought forward by Floventis Energy Limited, a newly established joint venture between SBM Offshore and Cierco Ltd.

The three projects will each test new foundation and mooring technologies, using new designs, materials and construction approaches.

Together with Blue Gem’s Erebus project and TwinHub’s project at the WaveHub site, they could quadruple the capacity of the floating wind pipeline in the Celtic Sea alone, to over 400MW.

Huub den Rooijen, Managing Director of the Crown Estate’s Marine portfolio, said: “Innovative projects like these represent a vital step towards the UK’s ambitions to develop floating wind at a commercial scale. Not only do they help support the commercialisation of the market while bringing down costs, they are key to testing new designs, materials and construction methods while creating new opportunities for the regional supply chain. “This sort of new technology will have an important role to play as the UK transitions to Net Zero, helping unlock new energy capacity, while potentially helping to reduce the impact on the marine environment.”

Severine Baudic, SBM Offshore New Energies and Services Managing Director, commented: “We are very proud of this first key milestone achieved with Cierco through our joint venture Floventis Energy. Our partnership will benefit from the combined expertise of Cierco in project development and SBM Offshore in floating offshore projects. Together, we have the ambition to stimulate and accelerate the floating wind market while building track-record and local presence.”

Mikael Jakobsson, Chairman of Cierco Ltd, added: “We are very honored to reach this first milestone for Floventis Energy, which materializes the strong partnership we established with SBM Offshore with the objective to develop responsible and sustainable floating wind projects maximizing benefits to the local communities.”

A spokesperson for Offshore Wind Limited said: “We are excited to be moving forward with White Cross, our floating wind test & demonstration project off the coast of Devon and Cornwall. It gives us a great opportunity to test new floating foundations and to prepare for commercial deployment of the technology across the UK”.

RenewableUK's Director of Future Electricity Systems, Barnaby Wharton, said: "Projects like these have the potential to build on the success of our world-leading floating wind farms already generating in Scottish waters. They can stimulate further investment in the UK supply chain for floating wind, manufacturing state-of-the-art technology not only for projects here but also for the global market which is expected to be worth at least £230m a year by 2031 to UK exporters. And the more floating wind we install in British waters, the cheaper it will become; this innovative technology can repeat the success of fixed-foundation offshore wind by becoming subsidy-free within a decade."

The Crown Estate is also continuing its work (announced in March) to design a new leasing opportunity for early commercial-scale floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea. This will focus on projects of circa 300MW each in scale – up to 3 times larger than any rights previously awarded to floating wind projects in the UK.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.