UK's Crown Estate to launch large-scale floating wind leasing round

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Crown Estate said on Wednesday it would start work on producing a new leasing round for commerical-scale floating wind power projects in the Celtic Sea.

Floating wind farms are an emerging technology with far higher costs than plants fixed to the seabed, but costs are expected to fall as more projects are brought online, opening up huge potential to develop projects further offshore.

The Crown Estate, which manages the seabed and half the foreshore around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said the leasing process would focus on projects around 300 megawatts, up to three times larger than any rights previously awarded to floating wind in Britain.

The government aims to deliver 1 gigawatt of floating wind by 2030.

“Floating offshore wind is the next frontier of the UK’s clean energy ambitions, offering an exciting opportunity to deliver more green energy, in new areas offshore,” said Huub den Rooijen, director of The Crown Estate’s energy, minerals and infrastructure portfolio.

“Today’s announcement is an important step in providing the market the confidence it needs to plan and invest, bringing with it huge opportunities for jobs and the supply chain,” he added.

The Crown Estate said it would give more details about the leasing round in coming months.

Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Edmund Blair