The Crown Estate inks lease agreements for Round 4 projects

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: Tom Russell 19/01/2023 The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate today announces it has signed Agreements for Lease for six offshore wind projects which could begin to generate green electricity by the end of the decade and have the potential to generate around 8 GW of renewable electricity, enough for more than seven million homes.

They include the 1500 MW Dogger Bank South
East and West projects from RWE, Corio Generation's 1500 MW Outer Dowsing project, EnBW and BP's Morgan and Mona projects (each 1500 MW) as well as the 480 MW Morecambe project from Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, S.A. (Cobra) and Flotation Energy Ltd.  

The Crown Estate stated it will now lead a programme of work to oversee the development of strategic environmental compensation plans for project located in two environmentally protected sites (the Dogger Bank Special Area of Conservation and the Flamborough and Filey Coast Special Protection Area). It stated that ensuring that the health of the natural marine environment remains at the centre of development plans.

This is in response to a rigorous assessment of the potential impacts of Offshore Leasing Round 4 on the most valuable environmental habitats in the UK (the Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 plan-level Habitats Regulations Assessment), and a commitment to ensure that environmental compensatory measures are put in place to offset the predicted impacts on two protected sites.

The Crown Estate will now establish a Steering Group for each of the protected sites, comprising government and statutory nature conservation bodies and the relevant project developers, which will drive the development of the detailed plans to ensure appropriate delivery of the commitments made by The Crown Estate through its plan-level HRA.

Dan Labbad, CEO of The Crown Estate, said: “The UK’s offshore wind achievements to date are nothing short of remarkable, and this next generation of projects point to an even more exciting and dynamic future.

“They demonstrate the far-reaching value that our world-class offshore wind sector can deliver for the nation: home grown energy for all, jobs and investment for communities, revenue for the taxpayer, clean energy for the benefit of the environment and a considerate, sustainable approach which respects our rich biodiversity.

“Moving forward, working with our stakeholders to continue unlocking this value is what drives us, and we are more committed than ever to lead the way in ensuring this important benefit is realised for our environment and for the nation.”

Gus Jaspert, Managing Director, Marine, at The Crown Estate, added: “Today marks a significant milestone for the UK on the road to net zero, unlocking green energy potential for more than seven million homes and demonstrating to the world that the UK offshore wind industry is growing at pace to help meet the climate challenge.

“As we face up to energy, climate and biodiversity challenges, we will continue to convene the best minds and support new technologies which will help realise the potential of the seabed as a key component of the UK’s renewable energy system; a home to a thriving natural environment; and a route to energy security.

“I’d like to thank all those who have collaborated with us on this leasing round to ensure the UK continues to lead the way in rebalancing energy provision away from fossil fuels for the benefit of present and future generations.”

In further news, King Charles III has requested that profits from seabed leasing will be made available to the "wider public good" rather than contribute towards funding the monarchy. The leasing of these new projects is expected to generate a major wind fall for the Crown Estate which would, in-turn, lead to increased funding for the monarchy. The Crown Estate currently contributed 25% of its annual surplus to the Royal family, with an extra 10% earmarked for the refurbishment of Bickingham Palace.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “In view of the offshore energy windfall, the Keeper of the Privy Purse has written to the Prime Minister and Chancellor to share the King’s wish that this windfall be directed for wider public good, rather than to the Sovereign Grant, through an appropriate reduction in the proportion of Crown Estate surplus that funds the Sovereign Grant.”