UK’s Crown Estate to lease seabed sites for six offshore wind projects

(Reuters) – Britain’s Crown Estate will lease sites for six offshore wind projects capable of generating enough green electricity to power more than seven million homes by 2030 under agreements announced on Thursday.

The UK is one of the world’s largest offshore wind markets, with more than 10 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity across 38 sites, which it plans to boost to up to 50 GW by the end of the decade.

The six sites being leased will add 8 GW towards that goal, the firm said in a statement.

The Crown Estate, which oversees the British monarch’s public holdings, manages the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland and awards seabed rights for the development of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy.

Three of the sites to be leased are located off the coasts of North Wales, Cumbria and Lancashire, and three in the North Sea off the coasts of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Germany’s RWE (RWEG.DE) said it was one of the companies that had signed a lease agreement with the Crown Estate. The projects are at a very early stage, according to RWE.

Gus Jaspert, managing director in charge of marine at the Crown Estate, said the deal “marks a significant milestone for the UK on the road to net zero”.

With energy prices hitting record highs last year, driven in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain has set targets to increase wind, nuclear and solar power generation.

Wind generated a record amount of energy in Britain in 2022, supplying more than 25% of its electricity, according to National Grid.

The offshore wind market has grown to become the largest source of renewable electricity in the UK, the Crown Estate said, currently able to power approximately 40% of UK homes.

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