Offshore wind farm c Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash

The Crown Estate has signed agreements for lease for three projects off the North Wales, Cumbria, and Lancashire coasts. Credit: Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash

Crown Estate signs £1bn offshore wind farm deal

Projected to be capable of powering more than 7m homes, the six offshore wind projects will sit off the coasts of North Wales, Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Lincolnshire.

The Crown Estate has signed agreements for lease for the wind farms, half of which will sit in the North West and North Wales. The proposed wind farms are expected to be worth £1bn, according to the Crown Estate.

An agreement for lease means that The Crown Estate will be given an annual option fee from developers until they are ready to take a full lease. This money will go towards The Crown Estate’s net revenue profit, which is paid to HM Treasury.

Gus Jaspert, managing director for marine at The Crown Estate, said: “Today marks a significant milestone for the UK on the road to net zero, unlocking green energy potential for more than 7m homes and demonstrating to the world that the UK offshore wind industry is growing at pace to help meet the climate challenge.”

The agreed projects in the Northern Wales and Irish Sea seabed are Mona, Morgan, and Morecambe.

Mona and Morgan are to be delivered by a consortium of German electric services company EnBW and British oil and gas company BP. Both would have the ability to generate 1,500 MW of energy.

Richard Sandford, vice president of UK offshore wind at BP, described the agreements for lease as “another milestone” for the Morgan and Moa projects.

“I’m immensely proud of what the team has achieved with EnBW so far – delivering our largest ever integrated offshore wind survey, working with the local communities, engaging with the supply chain, and submitting scoping reports,” Sandford said.

“All of this has led to today’s agreement and more importantly brings us one step closer to delivering enough low carbon energy to power the equivalent of more than three million UK homes.”

Morecambe is being developed by Morecambe Offshore Windfarm, a joint venture between Spanish-based Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios and Scottish offshore wind developer Flotation Energy. It would have the capacity to generate 480 MW of energy, enough to power more than half a million homes, according to a spokesperson for Cobra IS and Flotation Energy.

The spokesperson continued: “Morecambe Offshore Windfarm will play an essential part in the UK journey to net zero. Signing the Agreement for Lease now, in early 2023, is a very significant step forward in the development of the Round 4 projects and is essential to achieving the UK Government’s 2030 target of 50GW of offshore wind.”

Both Julie James, the Welsh government’s minister for climate change, and Graham Stuart, the UK’s minister for energy and climate, praised The Crown Estate’s decision.

Stuart said: “Britain’s position as the European leader in offshore wind shows no signs of letting up. These six projects demonstrate how areas across the UK can contribute to ensuring Britain meets its world-leading ambition of deploying up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030.”

James said: “We are determined to make the most of opportunities afforded by the urgent need to scale up renewable energy generation to transition away from fossil fuels and believe offshore wind will play a major role in the future energy system in Wales.

“We have a high level of ambition for the sector, and we are looking to maximise the employment opportunities across the supply chain and continue to work with The Crown Estate to deliver on our ambitions”.

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