UK government green lights lease agreements for 8GW of offshore wind

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 19/07/2022 The Crown Estate

The UK government has given six fixed offshore wind projects, with the potential to generate renewable electricity for more than 7 million homes, the green light to enter into an Agreement for Lease with The Crown Estate.

The sites concerned have the potential to generated up to 8 GW of offshore wind power. They include two RWE Renewables projects,
DBS West and DBS East, in the Dogger Bank area off the Yorkshire Coast, North East of Scarborough. They have a potential capacity of 1500 MW.

A site located off the Lincolnshire Coast, East of the Humber Estuary also got the green light. The
Outer Dowsing site  is being developed by Green Investment Group and Total Energies and could support an array of 1500 MW.

EnBW and BP also have two 1500 MW projects in the North Wales and the Irish Sea region which saw success. The
Mona project is situated off the Northern Welsh Coast, North East of Anglesey. Nearby, off the coast of Barrow-In-Furness, West of Morecambe Bay, is the Morgan project.

Offshore Wind Limited, a Joint Venture between Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, S.A. and Flotation Energy plc are progressing a site off the coast of Barrow-In-Furness, West of Morecambe Bay. The
Morecambe has the potential for 480 MW of offshore wind power.

Back in April, following the completion of a Habitats Regulations Assessment - an assessment of the potential impacts on the environmental habitats in the UK - The Crown Estate gave notice to the UK and Welsh Governments of its intent to proceed with the Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 plan on the basis of a ‘derogation’.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now provided agreement that The Crown Estate can proceed with the plan, and the Welsh Government has not raised any objections to the notice.

The derogation process enables plans or projects to progress if certain tests are met, while ensuring the identified environmental impacts are fully offset through environmental compensatory measures.  

Recognising that, The Crown Estate has developed a new strategic approach to the Habitats Regulations Assessment, convening key bodies to work through these challenges, balancing environmental considerations with the urgent need to accelerate offshore renewable development.

The approach includes environmental assessment supported by an Expert Working Group of relevant UK statutory marine planning authorities, statutory nature conservation bodies, relevant non-governmental organisations and the UK and Welsh governments.

The Habitats Regulations Assessment could not rule out significant adverse effects on two protected habitats (the Dogger Bank Special Area of Conservation and the Filey and Flamborough Head Special Protection Area). Consequently, in accordance with the derogation, for the first time The Crown Estate will establish a Steering Group for each of these two protected sites, comprising government and statutory nature conservation bodies and the relevant project developers to oversee the development and delivery of strategic environmental compensation plans.

As projects progress, the Steering Groups will engage with The Crown Estate’s HRA Expert Working Group to develop detailed individual site compensation plans.

Dan Labbad, CEO of The Crown Estate said: “Today is a pivotal moment on the UK’s journey towards net zero, strengthening the potential pipeline of future offshore wind projects and building vital resilience in domestic renewable energy supply.

“It is the result of a tremendous collective effort from industry, environmental and conservation stakeholders, governments, and technical experts who have helped shape a rigorous and evidence-led outcome. In convening this broad range of stakeholders, we have been able to take a more informed and strategic approach to environmental compensation than ever before, ensuring we balance our rich biodiversity with the urgent need to progress vital renewable infrastructure.

“As we continue to harness the benefits of UK offshore wind, we remain firmly committed to collaborating with these organisations to build knowledge and evidence to help us understand how the increasingly busy marine environment can continue to thrive and support the wide variety of ecosystems and industries which rely on it.”  

Earlier this month, (5 July 2022) The Crown Estate also announced plans to support the development of floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea.  These project development areas will be offered to the market via competitive tender, to be launched in mid-2023. It is intended that these areas will deliver 4 GW of floating offshore wind power by 2035.

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