Permits to develop six massive offshore windfarms totalling nearly 8GW in output have been issued by the Crown Estate, guardians of Britain’s continental marine shelf.

When built, the six moored projects will together generate power for more than seven million homes.

Also in offshore wind, this morning investment fund TRIG announced it was upping to 10.2% its interest in Hornsea One, at 1.2GW the world’s biggest turbine park currently spinning.  It is paying Global Infrastructure Partners an undisclosed sum for an additional 2.4% of the mega-project.

The Crown Estate began in 2001 its leasing of offshore zones for power generation. Following completion of environmental studies of the six plots listed below, the Crown Estate told governments in Westminster and Cardiff in April it would proceed with Round 4 of its Offshore Wind Leasing plan on the basis of a derogation.

Energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has now formally assented.  First Minister Mark Drakeford’s devolved administration has indicated its approval.

Round 4’s greenlighted projects are:   

Location  Winning bidder  Proposed project capacity (MW) 
Off Yorkshire, north east of Scarborough  RWE Renewables  1500 
Off Yorkshire, north east of Scarborough  RWE Renewables  1500 
Off Lincolnshire, east of Humber Estuary  Green Investment Group with Total Energies 1500 
North east of Anglesey  Consortium of EnBW and BP  1500 
West of Blackpool, south west of Morecambe Bay  Joint venture of Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios SA and Flotation Energy plc  480 
Off Barrow-In-Furness, west of Morecambe Bay  Consortium of EnBW and BP  1500 

 In April’s energy security strategy, the Westminster administration of now dethroned premier Johnson upped its previous target of 40GW of offshore wind capacity by a further 10GW.

Crown Estate CEO Dan Labbad declared: “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.

“Convening (a) 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.”

Welsh minister for climate change Julie James MS said: “As the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency, we welcome our partnership with the Crown Estate to deliver renewable energy projects here in Wales.

Energy secretary Kwarteng said: “This month saw the price of offshore wind fall to record lows and today’s announcement will take us another step closer to increasing current levels of capacity almost five-fold by 2030.

“We are already a world leader in offshore wind and these new sites will help secure more clean, affordable, homegrown power for millions of households across the country, while reducing their reliance on costly fossil fuels.”

This morning the Renewables Investment Group, TRIG, told shareholders it had agreed to buy a further 2.4% from Global Infrastructure Partners of the 1.2GW Hornsea One farm, operating since 2020 off Humberside. Today’s deal brings TRIG’s interest in the world’s biggest wind farm to 10.2%. Hornsea One accounts for 9% of the investment fund’s portfolio.

Managed by developers Ørsted, Hornsea One has 13 years remaining on its inflation-linked Contract-for-Difference. It generates enough clean electricity to power more than one million homes.



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