IPPToday #226: Developers propose 3 GW offshore wind projects in the UK
- Ørsted (former DONG Energy)
- KIRKBI A/S
- Pensionskassernes Administration (PKA)
- PFA Pension
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The Crown Estate, a statutory corporation that owns public land and assets in the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch, has announced that it has closed its application process for offshore wind farm extension projects. Since applications were invited in February 2017, the corporation has received proposals for projects representing up to 3 GW generation capacity.
Eight applications for offshore wind farm extensions located off the coast of England and Wales have been received.
The Crown Estate will now begin assessing the applications. Subject to the outcome of the assessment processes, successful applications could be converted to option agreements in summer 2019.
Eligible projects had to be extensions of fully operational offshore wind farms - at the end of 2017, there were 33 in the UK. The MW capacity of the extension could not exceed that of the existing wind farm. The site of the extension had to share a boundary with the site of the existing wind farm.
The Crown Estate's 2010 tender for leases for offshore wind extensions led to the 49.5 MW Kentish Flats Extension, which Vattenfall inaugurated in June 2016; the 258 MW Burbo Bank Extension, which opened in May 2017 and is owned by Ørsted, Kirkbi and pension fund PKA; and the 659 MW Walney Extension, for which turbine installation was completed in April and is also owned by Ørsted and PKA, alongside another pension fund, PFA.
This more recent application process did not include a leasing round as the Crown Estate decided that it was not necessary for developers to secure leases due to the extension projects being in close proximity to operating wind farms.
However, in November 2017, the corporation announced that it intends to work with industry stakeholders over the next year to develop a new leasing process for the seabed rights around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in order to create a single and comprehensive route for awarding rights for new offshore wind projects. This represents a move away from extension projects, which makes sense given their limited potential.
Furthermore, this coincides with a similar move by Crown Estate Scotland. As reported on this platform, the public body published a paper outlining a draft of the new process for leasing land for offshore wind projects in Scotland at the end of May. Following feedback on the paper, Crown Estate Scotland plans to launch the final leasing process in late 2018 or early 2019.