The Crown Estate has made its first major investment in surveys to support the proposal to create clean energy capacity through floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea. 

The Crown Estate plans to plans to deliver an initial 4GW of floating offshore wind capacity in the Celtic Sea by 2035

Wind investment

Source: BW Ideol V.Joncheray

The Crown Estate plans to plans to deliver an initial 4GW of floating offshore wind capacity in the Celtic Sea by 2035

The awarding of the first contracts marks an important step in what is anticipated to be a multi-million pound series of technical and environmental surveys around potential locations for new floating windfarms.

“A successful floating wind market in the Celtic Sea will not only support the UK’s journey to net zero and strengthen our energy security, but can be the catalyst for new jobs, investment and supply chain opportunities,” said Nicola Clay, head of new ventures at The Crown Estate,

”Ensuring these benefits are fully realised is a shared challenge and The Crown Estate is committed to playing its part in supporting the growth of these important markets.

Future investment

The Crown Estate, which manages the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has set out ambitious plans to deliver an initial 4GW of energy capacity in the Celtic Sea by 2035, with the potential to accommodate up to 24GW by 2045.

This would be one of the first uses of new floating wind technology on a commercial scale, with further rapid growth expected as the technology, supply chain and infrastructure mature.

By investing in these surveys at an early stage and making the data freely available to successful bidders, The Crown Estate said it wants to accelerate the delivery of projects, making it easier for developers to take early decisions and manage risk, while supporting future project level Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) as part of the planning process.

Over the last year, The Crown Estate has been working with its technical advisors, alongside industry and other stakeholders, including statutory nature conservation bodies, to develop a programme of surveys which will deliver strong datasets for developers.

The survey programme will cover a range of important areas, including the geophysical and geotechnical properties of the seabed, wind, wave and current patterns and marine wildlife.

As well as providing successful bidders with easy access to vital data and speeding up the development process, it is hoped the programme will avoid the need for developers to conduct additional surveys later in the process, while making best use of limited specialist survey resource.

Contracts have now been signed for the initial phase of metocean surveys, which look at wind, wave and current patterns, to begin in Spring 2023. The Crown Estate is intends to progress the procurement of the remaining surveys over the coming weeks and months.