Guide to Offshore Windfarms – Part 1

The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate manages the seabed around England.

The Crown Estate is owned by the Monarch in right of the Crown, (not to be confused with the Monarchs personal assets). This means that the Queen owns it by virtue of being the reigning Monarch. Responsibility for managing The Crown Estate is trusted to a board, under the Crown Estate Act. All revenue from the Crown Estate is paid to the Treasury which has been the case since 1760.

The Crown Estate manages the land for the development of offshore windfarms.
Wind Turbines

The Energy Act 2004 gives the right to The Crown Estate to license the generation of renewable energy on the continental shelf within the Renewable Energy Zone out to 200nm.

In 2001, The Crown Estate announced the first UK offshore wind leasing round and since has run two further leasing rounds in 2003 and 2008.

At the end of 2018, thirty-nine offshore wind farms have been built. The aim is to grow the offshore wind farm industry. In particular to increase capacity from 6.9GW at the end of 2017, to 30GW in the 2030s.

In 2018, The Crown Estate completed its initial assessment of offshore wind farm extension applications. The proposed projects represent an additional 3.4GW new capacity. Subject to the outcome of a plan-level Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA). Developers could be granted lease agreements in summer 2019.

Plans for Round 4 offshore wind leasing round could be launched in the early part of 2019, maintaining a pipeline of projects through to the late 2020s and beyond.

Overview

There is no single way to build and operate an offshore wind farm. The operation depends on the specific conditions of the site.

The rate at which the wind industry has developed over the last decade is remarkable. By 2025, we can be reasonably confident of the technologies that will be available.

Manufacturers are working on turbine designs in excess of 15MW. Today turbines capable of 8-10MW are available and it is reasonable to assume that 10MW will be commonplace.

Offshore windfarms vary considerably in their size 400MW arrays are common place today, but we will be looking at projects of 100 10MW turbines generating 1GW will become the norm.

It is reasonable to assume that going forward windfarms coming into operation by 2022, will generate 1GW and be located 60KM from shore. In water depth of 30m or more.

These are the parameters form the basis of cost guidelines in the following posts.

All figures are based on industry data in 2019.

To find out more about the Rampion Windfarm project, join one of the trips aboard Defiance.

Read Part 2 – Consents