Offshore wind boost as 2.8GW of new UK capacity edges closer to development

(Business Green, 29 Aug 2019) More than 2.8GW of new UK renewable power capacity could be delivered through proposed offshore wind farm extensions, after The Crown Estate yesterday agreed to take forward seven projects to the planning rights stage.

The seabed landlord confirmed it has completed the required nature and habitats impact assessments for the latest wave of offshore wind farm extension bids, and following consultation with independent advisors, conservation groups, and marine planning authorities has decided to progress 2.85GW of new power capacity to the next stage of development.

The seven successful wind farm extension projects - Sheringham Shoal, Dudgeon, Greater Gabbard, Galloper, Rampion, Gwynt y Môr, and Thanet - will now undergo specific environmental assessments and surveys before formally seeking planning consent, The Crown Estate said.

The announcement is a welcome boost for the offshore wind sector, which is currently mired in uncertainty due to a legal challenge from Banks Renewables that threatens to stall the next government auction for a fresh round of clean energy contracts.

Will Apps, head of energy development at The Crown Estate, said extending existing wind farms offered an opportunity to unlock a near 10 per cent increase in the UK's offshore wind portfolio, while "supporting the continued growth of the development pipeline and demonstrating continued strong market appetite for new projects in UK waters".

"In today's increasingly busy sea-space, a collaborative approach will become all the more crucial, ensuring that the continued ambitious growth of offshore wind happens in balance with the wide range of other interests offshore," he said. "We'll continue to work closely with customers, stakeholders and the government to address spatial challenges, in support of responsible, future deployment of UK offshore wind."

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Business Green, 29 Aug 2019: Offshore wind boost as 2.8GW of new UK capacity edges closer to development