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The Crown Estate has launched Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4, opening up the potential for at least 7 GW of new seabed rights for offshore wind development in the waters around England and Wales. The Crown Estate, which acts as manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is making four broad areas of seabed available to the market, within which potential developers will have the opportunity to bid for project sites.
 
The Crown Estate’s Round 4 tender process, which will commence in October 2019, and run until autumn 2020, includes:
  • A three-stage tender process, evaluating both bidders’ capability and their proposed projects, before using option fees to determine award; a fair, objective and transparent process which reflects the maturing offshore wind market.
  • Incentives for innovation, encouraging Round 4 developers to incorporate technological innovations within their projects, helping to pave the way for a sustainable deployment pipeline over the long term. Developers will also have the opportunity to propose hybrid projects, such as those which integrate offshore wind with interconnection or other energy generators.
  • A geographically diverse pipeline - Round 4 projects will come forward across at least three bidding areas, with a maximum of 3.5GW within any one area, helping to balance new capacity across the country.
  • Extended 60 year lease terms - (up from 50) enough for two full project lifecycles, reflecting maturing offshore wind technology and operations.
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