Five areas in the sea off Wales and Cornwall have been mapped out for floating offshore wind schemes, the Crown Estate has announced.

The organisation - which manages land and property owned by the Royal Family - has identified five broad “areas of search” for developing the technology, which can be deployed in deeper water with higher wind than conventional offshore wind farms.

The areas are in the Celtic Sea, which the Crown Estate said was rich in natural resources, including wind, and have been identified following technical analysis and engagement.

The organisation says it will later make some of these sites available for the first generation of commercial-scale floating windfarms to be built, opening for competitive tender in mid 2023.


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It believes the windfarms would deliver four gigawatts of floating offshore wind power by 2035 – enough to power almost four million homes.

Research commissioned by the Crown Estate suggests a further 20 gigawatts of floating offshore wind capacity could be established in the Celtic Sea by 2045.

The areas take account of navigation routes, fishing activity and environmental issues, the Crown Estate said.

Huub den Rooijen, managing director marine at the Crown Estate, said: “The Celtic Sea has the potential to become one of the great renewable energy basins of the world, bringing economic growth and abundant clean power.

“This leasing round is a first step, and we need to work together to bring technology costs down, deliver environmentally sound solutions and respect the needs of the many other users of the marine space.”

Greg Hands, energy and climate change minister, said: “We already have the largest offshore wind deployment in Europe. Floating technology is key to unlocking the full potential of our coastline.

“We want to deliver up to 5GW of floating offshore wind by 2030. These projects can help power millions of homes with clean, and cheaper, renewable energy, reducing reliance on expensive fossil fuels.”

According to the Estate's own records, its property in Wales is currently valued at a total of £603million - a significant increase from just under £97m in 2019 - with profits shared between the royal family and the UK Government Treasury.

The increase in value is largely down to the leasing of Welsh seabeds for offshore wind projects.

One of these projects, off the coast of Ynys Mon, was awarded to a consortium of Energie Baden-Württemberg, a German energy company that operates a number of coal-fired power stations, and British Petroleum, one of the largest oil companies in the world.

The Welsh Government, as part of its cooperation deal with Plaid Cymru, intends to pursue control over the Crown Estate in Wales. 

This would mean a similar arrangement to that in Scotland, where Crown Estate profits go directly to the Scottish Government.

Plaid MP Liz Saville Roberts has attempted to introduce a Crown Estate Devolution Bill to Parliament, and an online petition in support of the idea has reached just over 11,000 signatures.

Additional reporting: Rebecca Wilks

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