The crown estate has opened the first leasing round for offshore windfarms in a decade to usher in a new generation of wind projects expected to eventually generate an investment of £20bn. The business intends to auction off new seabed rights in the waters around England and Wales to wind power developers. The leasing scheme allows up to 7GW of electricity generation capacity – enough to meet the needs of more than 6m homes. The leasing round is expected to hand a record windfall to the crown estate, potentially generating hundreds of millions of pounds. The business passes surplus revenues to the Treasury. The auction is expected to be hard fought by energy companies eager to profit from the UK’s growing offshore wind sector. The UK has got 8.5GW of offshore wind generation capacity, which provides more than 8% of the UK’s annual electricity needs. The government has agreed to support the industry to expand the UK’s offshore wind capacity to 30GW by 2030. The industry’s trade body, RenewableUK, has estimated that the next generation of offshore wind development would bring almost £21bn of investment in today’s prices, and support about 9,000 full-time jobs.
Guardian 18th Sept 2019 read more »
The first auction in a decade of rights to develop offshore wind projects in waters around England and Wales is expected to deliver a significant long-term earnings boost to the Queen. The Crown Estate, which manages the seabeds around England, Wales and Northern Ireland on behalf of the monarch, will on Thursday fire the starting gun on a year-long auction that should add at least 7 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity to Britain’s electricity system. This would be enough to power more than 6m homes when weather conditions are favourable. The rights auction is the first since 2010 and is expected to be highly competitive as companies seek to develop projects in UK waters, the world’s biggest market for offshore wind. Provided successful bidders develop projects in the areas where they have secured rights, the auction should help the UK government surpass a target of sourcing 30GW, or a third of electricity, from offshore wind by 2030, according to RenewableUK, a trade body. The UK already has a capacity of 8.5GW of offshore wind, supplying 8 per cent of electricity, and more projects are in development. The added 7GW of schemes that could be built following the latest Crown Estate auction would bring the total of projects that are either already generating electricity, under construction or planned to 43GW, RenewableUK said. The Committee on Climate Change, an advisory body, has warned that at least 75GW of offshore wind may be needed to meet the government’s recently adopted net zero carbon emissions target for 2050.
FT 19th Sept 2019 read more »