As British households are gripped by the worst impacts of major fossil fuel energy crisis, the Government has looked to protect the country from volatile wholesale costs by investing in renewable energy. In the UK’s Energy Security Strategy, the Government announced ambitious targets to deliver up to 50GW of electricity from offshore wind by 2030, including up to 5GW of innovative floating wind.
To help in these efforts, the Crown Estate, which is owned by the Queen has signed a deal with the Government as six major offshore wind projects have been given the green light.
These wind projects would deliver up to 8GW of renewable energy, which is enough to power 7 million homes in the UK, at the fraction of the cost of natural gas.
The Crown Estate gave notice to the UK and Welsh Governments of its intent to proceed with the Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 plan on the basis of a ‘derogation’, following the completion of a Habitats Regulations Assessment, which is an assessment of potential impacts on environmental habitats.
Dan Labbad, CEO of The Crown Estate said: “Today is a pivotal moment on the UK’s journey towards net zero, strengthening the potential pipeline of future offshore wind projects and building vital resilience in domestic renewable energy supply.
“It is the result of a tremendous collective effort from industry, environmental and conservation stakeholders, governments, and technical experts who have helped shape a rigorous and evidence-led outcome.
“As we continue to harness the benefits of UK offshore wind, we remain firmly committed to collaborating with these organisations to build knowledge and evidence to help us understand how the increasingly busy marine environment can continue to thrive and support the wide variety of ecosystems and industries which rely on it.”
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This announcement comes as earlier this month, the Crown Estate announced plans to almost single-handedly reach the Government’s 5GW target by developing floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea, which could bring up to 4GW of additional capacity.
Mr Kwarteng said: “This month saw the price of offshore wind fall to record lows and today’s announcement will take us another step closer to increasing current levels of capacity almost five-fold by 2030.
“We are already a world leader in offshore wind and these new sites will help secure more clean, affordable, homegrown power for millions of households across the country, while reducing their reliance on costly fossil fuels.”
Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS, said: “As the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency, we welcome our partnership with The Crown Estate to deliver renewable energy projects here in Wales.
“We want to harness the power of our natural resources to benefit our communities, through projects that invest in local supply chains and green, skilled jobs.”