Wednesday 24 March 2021 9:54 am

Crown Estate to launch new large-scale floating wind farm leasing round

The Crown Estate has today announced that it is beginning work on a new leasing round for floating wind power projects in the Celtic Sea.

Floating turbines are still an emerging technology, but if successful could enable wind farms to be built much further offshore.

In December the UK announced that it would seek to install 1 gigawatt of floating wind generation capacity by the end of the decade.

That will supplement wider plans for a total of 40 gigawatts of installed offshore wind power by the same date. At the moment, it has already built a quarter of this.

Under the plans for a new leasing round, the Crown Estate, which manages the UK’s seabed and mineral rights, said it was focusing on projects of circa 300 megawatts in scale.

Such projects would be three times as big as any floating wind farm as yet given approval in the UK.

The new projects will be located in the waters around south Wales and the south-west.

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Energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Floating offshore projects are going to be vital in ensuring we unlock the full potential of natural resources in the windiest parts around our coastline and ensure the UK remains a world-leader in offshore wind.

“It is our ambition to ensure every home is powered by wind by 2030 and creating new leasing opportunities in the Celtic Sea will help us reach our ambitions, expanding our capabilities further and faster, creating jobs and generating investment as we continue building back greener.”

Yesterday a floating wind farm off the east coast of Scotland recorded the best results for capturing potential energy output from wind of any offshore development for the third year in a row.

The Hywind Scotland development, off Peterhead, averaged potential output of 57.1 per cent over the past year.

The results underscore the potential the new technology has. Sebastian Bringsværd, head of floating wind development at Equinor, told the BBC that access to deeper waters meant higher and more consistent wind speeds and an efficient way to generate electricity.