In a bold move for the energy transition, The Crown Estate, manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, recently unveiled a plan to significantly increase the production capacity of green electricity. This initiative is part of the UK government’s target to achieve 50GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.
Affected offshore wind farm projects
Developers of seven offshore wind farm projects in development are expressing their belief that they can generate additional capacity from areas of the seabed to which they already hold rights, making them directly affected by this decision. This demonstrates the Crown Estate’s ambition to catalyze the UK’s energy transition, while preserving a thriving marine environment and supporting the growth of communities, industry and the country.
This initiative follows improvements in offshore wind technologies, which now make it possible to generate more clean energy from the same area of seabed. The Crown Estate considers these demands by balancing the economic and clean energy potential of these projects with its commitments to nature, biodiversity and the effective management of an increasingly stressed seabed.
Environmental assessment process and stakeholder consultation
An assessment of the collective environmental impact of this additional capacity on all seven projects is planned. This assessment, called the ‘Plan-Level Habitats Regulations Assessment’ (HRA), will involve consultation with key stakeholders, including nature conservation bodies and regulators.
Statements from Gus Jaspert and Dan McGrail
Gus Jaspert, Managing Director of the Crown Estate’s marine arm, highlights the importance of a strategic and holistic approach to the intensifying demands on the seabed. The proposed capacity increases exploit areas already granted rights but underutilized, which represents an optimal opportunity for the use of these resources. Dan McGrail, chief executive of RenewableUK, stresses the importance of maximizing offshore wind capacity to reach the 50GW target.
Finally, The Crown Estate is working with government to define an assessment process that balances the needs of industry with those of nature and the marine environment. The aim is to reach a determination of additional capacity within 12 months, subject to regulated planning processes.
The Crown Estate is positioning itself as a key player in the UK’s energy transition. By increasing offshore wind energy production capacity, the organization contributes significantly to achieving the country’s carbon neutrality and energy security objectives.
This article is originally published on energynews.pro