The Marine-i Project has voiced its strong support for the recent 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.
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.
Part 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 program, 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.”