The Crown Estate, which manages a property portfolio valued at more than £8 billion that is owned by the British Crown, has announced plans to lease further wave and tidal sites in a bid to encourage and accelerate technology development. As manager of the seabed out to the 12 nm limit, the Crown Estate plays a major role in the development of the offshore wind energy industry in the UK.
The leasing will focus on test and demonstration projects to be installed in waters around the UK.
The further leasing adds to the numerous ways that the Crown Estate is supporting industry growth, including the recent announcement that it us considering investing up to £20 million in the UK’s first wave and tidal stream array projects.
The Crown Estate is enhancing its approach to leasing wave and tidal sites by introducing two new features.
* Demonstration zones: to help the industry focus on the best seabed locations, the Crown Estate is creating new zones for test and demonstration activities. Utilising its specialist knowledge of the UK seabed and working in partnership with statutory marine planning organisations, the Crown Estate is defining zones that offer appropriate wave and tidal energy resources and access to necessary infrastructure, including ports and the electricity grid.
* Third party management of zones: once the zones are defined, the Crown Estate plans to invite third party organisations to manage them and sublet areas within the zones for test and demonstration activities. The third party managers may be public or private sector organisations and, before subletting, may choose to undertake preparatory work, such as installing infrastructure to make the zones attractive for use.
Huub den Rooijen, head of Offshore Wind, says: “The emerging wave and tidal industry has already taken great strides, but we want to encourage faster progress in technology development and rapid cost reduction. By introducing managed demonstration zones we’re offering a key opportunity to other organisations to lend tangible support in their local areas.”
The new leasing is planned to commence in September 2013.
In the UK, 41 wave and tidal sites have already been leased with a total potential installed capacity of approximately 2 GW. This is the largest development pipeline of wave and tidal projects in the world.