Offshore wind auction could raise millions for Queen

(The Guardian, 17 Jul 2019) Crown Estate holds rights to seabeds around British Isles for wind and wave power.

The Queen’s property managers will this week set out terms for the world’s biggest offshore wind auction in a decade.

Industry experts expect the complex bidding process to raise record sums, which could increase energy bills and hand a windfall to the crown – potentially generating hundreds of millions for the Queen.

The Crown Estate, which manages the monarch’s property portfolio, holds exclusive rights to lease the seabed around the British Isles for wind and wave power. Its profits go to the Treasury, which then sends 25% back to the royal household in the form of the sovereign grant.

Criticised as a cash grab by some energy companies, the auction has already prompted calls for a review of whether the Queen should have the right to claim any revenues from offshore wind.

“If this source of value is going to increase fourfold, let’s make sure that value stays with the public rather than being spent on redoing the royal palace,” said Molly Scott Cato, the finance spokesperson for the Green party.

The sovereign grant was increased two years ago, from its previous level of 15%, in order to pay for extensive renovations at Buckingham Palace. It is to stay at 25% for a 10-year period, meaning the royal household should benefit directly from the money raised from the new leases.

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The Guardian, 17 Jul 2019: Offshore wind auction could raise millions for Queen