The Crown Estate has today (19 September 2019) officially launched Offshore
Wind Leasing Round 4, opening up the potential for at least 7 GW of new
seabed rights for offshore wind development in the waters around England
and Wales. With the potential to meet the electricity needs of over six
million homes, Round 4s launch follows over 18 months of engagement with
the market and stakeholders.
The Crown Estate, which acts as manager of the seabed around England, Wales
and Northern Ireland, is making four areas of seabed available to the market.
The sites the Crown Estate has deemed viable for potential development
includes the Dogger
Bank Bidding Area;
Regions Bidding Area;
East Bidding Area;
Northern Wales and Irish Sea
Bidding Area. The four areas can be viewed on 4C
Offshores interactive map.
these four areas, competent bidders will have the freedom to identify and
propose their own project sites, supported and informed by the data and
analysis The Crown Estate makes available. This approach harnesses the
expertise of developers and helps to ensure strong projects are awarded
in the most suitable areas.
Crown Estate has also released the Round 4 Information Memorandum, which
provides a detailed summary of the design and structure of Leasing Round
4 which is available via The Crown Estate website, along with a suite of
associated documents, including: Regions Refinement Report; 18 Characterisation
Area Reports; Summary Stakeholder Feedback Report; Resource and Constraints
Assessment Methodology Report; and GIS Shape Files showing the boundaries
of the Bidding Areas.
Crown Estate is also holding a ‘Bidders Information Day’ on 9th
October to provide potential leasing round participants with a detailed
overview of the Round 4 process.
den Rooijen, Director of Energy, Minerals and Infrastructure at the Crown
Estate said: “The UK is home to the world’s largest offshore wind
market, attracting global investment, meeting UK electricity needs, and
playing a crucial role in the transition to a net-zero economy. Leasing
Round 4 is the next chapter in this remarkable transition, developed and
refined through extensive engagement with the market and stakeholders,
to deliver an attractive, fair, objective process, which helps to balance
a range of interests in the marine environment.
4 projects will take the UK sector from strength to strength, delivering
clean, affordable, home-grown electricity and joining a robust pipeline
of projects in UK waters, which together will deliver a fourfold increase
in operational offshore wind capacity by 2030”.
The Crown Estate’s Round 4 tender process, which will commence in October
2019, and run until autumn 2020, includes:
- A three-stage tender process, evaluating both bidders’ capability
and their proposed projects, before using option fees to determine award;
a fair, objective and transparent process which reflects the maturing offshore
- Incentives for innovation, encouraging Round 4 developers to incorporate
technological innovations within their projects, helping to pave the way
for a sustainable deployment pipeline over the long term. Developers will
also have the opportunity to propose hybrid projects, such as those which
integrate offshore wind with interconnection or other energy generators.
- A geographically diverse pipeline - Round 4 projects will come
forward across at least three bidding areas, with a maximum of 3.5 GW within
any one area, helping to balance new capacity across the country.
- Extended 60 year lease terms - (up from 50) enough for two full
project lifecycles, reflecting maturing offshore wind technology and operations.
Low cost deployment - Round 4 focuses on water depths out to 60 metres,
which are suitable for fixed foundation technology, and will come forward
in areas of favourable development resource, helping to enable cost-competitive
- Harnessing the power of data – Round 4 lease agreements will require
developers to collate and share project surveys and data, and participate
in sector benchmarking schemes such as the System Performance and Reliability
Trend Analysis project (known as SPARTA) – helping to build the evidence
base in the sector, continue de-risking investment, and drive continued
improvements in operational performance.
In total, the Round 4 tender process is expected to take approximately
12 months, followed by a Plan-Level HRA of an approximately equivalent
period. Subject to this HRA, new seabed rights could be awarded as
early as 2021, with developers then progressing to seek planning consent
for their own projects through the statutory planning process. Round 4
projects could become operational by the late 2020s.
As it confirmed in July 2019, the Crown Estate noted that the maximum individual
project size which may be awarded through Leasing Round 4 is 1.5 GW. The
minimum individual project size is 600 MW in the Dogger Bank Bidding Area,
and 400 MW in all other Bidding Areas. These capacities mean that between
five and eighteen new offshore wind projects could be awarded through Leasing
Todays announcement follows
news last month that
The Crown Estate had completed the plan level Habitats Regulations
Assessment (HRA) for the 2017 project extension applications. Seven projects
with a combined capacity of 2.85 GW will now progress to the award of rights
stage. The developers of the seven extensions will now progress with project
specific environmental assessments and surveys before seeking planning
consent for their projects through the statutory planning process.
The UK is currently a world leader with regards to installed offshore wind
capacity with 9.9 GW installed and 3.7 GW in construction or post financial
closure. The government has set a target for ‘up to 30GW’ of offshore
wind by 2030.
For more information on offshore wind farm developments worldwide, click
You can also view offshore wind farms in various stages of development
Offshores Interactive Map.