The Crown Estate in the UK has completed an initial assessment of offshore wind extension applications, confirming that the eight proposed projects, representing up to 3.4 GW of potential new capacity, have satisfied the application criteria.
The eight projects, located in the waters around England and Wales, will now be subject to a plan level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) which will assess any possible impact of the proposed extensions on relevant nature conservation sites of European importance.
The plan level HRA, which represents the next phase of the assessment process, will be undertaken by The Crown Estate over the next six to nine months.
The eight project applications are for extensions to:
Subject to the outcome of the plan level HRA, applicants could be granted agreements for leases in Q2 2019. Successful developers would then commence project-specific environmental assessments and seek consent for their projects through the statutory planning process.
In parallel, The Crown Estate continues its work to consider the potential for new offshore wind leasing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Any new leasing would further supplement the UK offshore wind portfolio and help maintain a pipeline of projects through to the late 2020s and beyond.
The Crown Estate head of energy development Will Apps said, “It is really positive to see such a strong response to the opportunity for extension projects. “In parallel with our Habitats Regulations Assessment, we will continue to work closely with the applicants and our stakeholders to ensure careful consideration of any environmental impacts and existing users of the seabed, ahead of any award of rights.”