To date, The Crown Estate has pursued a series of leasing rounds under which areas of seabed have been made available for the development of offshore wind farms. In December 2000 they announced the first round of UK offshore wind farm development, undertaken as a demonstration round. The key aims of Round 1 were to provide perspective developers with the opportunity to gain technological, economic and environmental expertise. Round 1 was to cater for demonstration scale projects of up to 30 turbines with the selection of sites largely driven by developers. Eighteen sites were awarded, totalling a combined capacity of up to 1.5 GW.
Two years later, and prior to Round 2, a government report ‘Future Offshore’ set out the framework for offshore wind development in the UK. Through this report, three strategic areas were identified for development and a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was carried out for these areas, (the Greater Wash, the Thames Estuary and Liverpool Bay in the northwest). The Round 2 tender process was for commercial scale projects within these three areas, with the aim of meeting the offshore wind capacities identified by the SEA. In July 2003 we announced a competitive tender process for commercial scale Round 2 sites. The fifteen successful projects awarded Crown Estate agreements for lease amounted to 7.2 GW and included sites within and beyond territorial waters
In May 2008, they announced a process for leasing wind farm sites in Scottish territorial waters. Following a detailed evaluation, nine development companies were awarded exclusivity agreements to take forward development at ten separate locations.
On 4 June 2008, and following announcement made from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) on the launch of an SEA of UK waters to open up the seas to up to 33 GW of offshore wind energy, they announced proposals for the third round of offshore wind farm leasing. The ambition was to install 25 GW of offshore wind energy in the UK Renewable Energy Zones and the territorial waters of England and Wales.
For Round 3, nine development zones were identified for which developers could bid. In parallel to the bidding process, the government carried out a further SEA for offshore energy. Once awarded, each of the nine zones would be managed by a single development partner (company or consortium) who will oversee development of the zone.
More recently, in July 2009 they announced their intention to offer the opportunity to extend Round 1 and Round 2 projects. The aim of this leasing round is to take advantage of the possible accelerated delivery of project extensions, in order that construction can be underway before development starts on Round 3 projects. This is expected to provide developers with a continuous stream of projects, an issue seen to be a priority in order to add confidence and security to the supply chain.
To view round 1,2 and 3 projects please go to http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/offshore_wind_energy
NOF Energy works with The Crown Estate to ensure the supply chain remain informed of offshore wind developments taking place around UK waters.
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