The Crown Estate Decision will Accelerate FLOW Development in the Celtic Sea

The Marine-i Project has voiced its strong support for this week’s (week of March 22) decision by The Crown Estate, which has announced that it is commencing work to design and deliver a new leasing opportunity for early commercial-scale floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea.

2 Marine iPart funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i aims to help the marine technology sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow, by harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.

The Crown Estate says the leasing process will focus on projects of circa 300MW in scale – up to 3 times larger than any rights previously awarded to floating wind in the UK – demonstrating a new frontier for the sector and an important step towards the Government’s ambition to deliver 1 GW of floating wind by 2030.

The news follows The Crown Estate’s invitation to the market, in December 2020, to come forward with views on how best to accelerate the development of floating wind in the UK, including welcoming feedback on the potential scale and location of future rights and the best route to help build the related supply chain.

Professor Lars Johanning, Project Director for Marine-i says:

“This is a huge boost for the region’s ambition to become one of the world’s leading players in the development of commercial-scale floating offshore wind. It reflects the strong interest that has already been shown by the renewable energy industry and other key stakeholders.

“Floating offshore wind power will be a vital component of the UK’s industrial strategy as we move toward a net zero economy by 2050. It will also have a profound effect on the local economy in the South West, creating new jobs in the supply chain and providing a key component for our post-pandemic recovery. We are extremely grateful for the vision and leadership that has been demonstrated by The Crown Estate.”

Matt Hodson, Marine Operations Director at Cornwall Development Company, which is a partner in the Marine-i programme, adds:

“This is a significant announcement from the Crown Estate which confirms the Celtic Sea’s role in scaling up Floating Offshore Wind to help meet low carbon targets. This positions the South West at the heart of a global technology revolution which will provide fantastic opportunities for businesses located here. Marine-i is delighted to be already working with a number of local businesses on FLOW supply chain projects with the potential to make significant impacts in the industry and looks forward to accelerating similar work over the coming months.”

The full details of The Crown Estate’s announcement can be seen here.

The Opportunity for Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) in the Celtic Sea

Floating platforms can access stronger winds in deeper waters than conventional fixed offshore wind turbines. The Celtic Sea (which is an area off the coast of Cornwall and West Wales and south of Ireland) has some of the best wind resources in Europe. It is therefore a prime location for the development of FLOW wind farms.

The South West wants to become as a world leader in Floating Offshore Wind by 2030, laying the foundations for a new sustainable long term industry. This will create new high value jobs and export opportunities, as well as diversifying the local economy. It will build on existing regional strengths and knowledge in offshore renewables and enable access to a fast-growing global market.

A report published in 2020 by ORE Catapult and commissioned by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP and the Welsh Government said a floating wind industry in the Celtic Sea could support 3,200 jobs in the South West and Wales and £682m of spend in the local supply chain by 2030, while powering hundreds of thousands of homes.

Nationally the floating wind industry could support 17,000 jobs and generate £33.6 billion of economic activity, with huge export potential.

This ambition aligns with the Government’s plan for the UK to become a world leader in green energy and floating offshore wind. FLOW also addresses two key global challenges: the need to combat climate change by moving away from fossil fuels, together with the need to regenerate local economies in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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