Five areas in Celtic Sea identified for floating offshore wind farms
The Crown Estate has identified five areas where floating offshore wind facilities could be built in the Celtic Sea.
The areas were selected following technical analysis and discussions between the Crown Estate and the UK and Welsh governments. They will be offered to the market via competitive tender, a process to be launched in mid-2023.
It is intended that the facilities could deliver around 4GW of floating offshore wind power by 2035 and could kick-start the fledgling industry.
The UK is one of the world leaders in offshore wind power and harnessing that energy is considered to be a key component in meeting global net-zero carbon emissions targets by 2050.
The Crown Estate will also be tendering larger, 1GW-scale projects which may be developed in a phased or ‘stepping stone’ approach. Research commissioned by the body indicates that the Celtic Sea has the economic potential to accommodate up to an additional 20GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2045.
The leasing round will also give developers the option to incorporate newer innovations such as green hydrogen production made from the renewable energy generated by the windfarms.
The areas has been chosen with a variety of factors taken into account, including navigation routes, fisheries activity and environmental sensitivities.
Nicola Clay, head of new ventures marine at the Crown Estate, said: “The focus in our current programme on delivering the proposed 4GW of floating wind power represents a phased approach, which will provide important lessons at each stage to support and enable the future growth of the sector.
“It gives visibility to a long-term pipeline that will support investment in the regional supply chain and infrastructure, contribute significantly to UK energy security and help projects in the Celtic Sea reach a scale where they can become more cost-competitive.
Climate change minister Greg Hands said: “We already have the largest offshore wind deployment in Europe. Floating technology is key to unlocking the full potential of our coastline.
“We want to deliver up to 5GW of floating offshore wind by 2030. These projects can help power millions of homes with clean and cheaper renewable energy, reducing reliance on expensive fossil fuels.”
In January, the government announced a £31m fund to help drive further deployment of floating offshore wind projects.
Julie James, Welsh minister for climate change, said: “In the short term, we believe offshore wind will provide fantastic economic and social regeneration opportunities. Work to date suggests that up to 1,400 full-time equivalent jobs could be sustained by 500MW of floating offshore wind projects.”
Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.