Renewable energy in Cumbria and elsewhere around the UK has been given a considerable boost this month (September), thanks to The Crown Estate, which has just announced that it has launched Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4.
In all, four broad areas of seabed will now be available to the market and potential developers will now have the opportunity to bid for sites. The move will see at least 7 GW of new seabed rights opened up for offshore wind development around England and Wales, which will provide enough electricity to power more than six million homes.
The tender process is due to start in October, running until autumn next year, with developers encouraged to incorporate technological innovations to pave the way for a more sustainable future. They will also be given the opportunity to come up with hybrid projects, such as those that integrate offshore wind with other sources of energy generation.
Chief executive of industry organisation RenewableUK Hugh McNeal welcomed the announcement, saying that the move will secure billions in investment in new infrastructure and help drive the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry.
“These powerhouses of the future will create thousands of highly-skilled jobs, continuing the rapid regeneration of our coastal communities, as well as benefiting our UK-wide supply chain,” he went on to say.
Director of energy, minerals and infrastructure at The Crown Estate Huub den Rooijen made the announcement, saying that these Round 4 projects will see the sector go from strength to strength, delivering affordable, clean electricity produced in this country, as well as a four-fold rise in operational offshore wind capacity come the year 2030.
According to the Independent, new offshore wind farms around the country will see power generated more cheaply than burning coal, without any subsidies required.
The cost of offshore wind power has fallen 30 per cent in two years, with 12 new energy projects now starting at a record low price of between £39.65 and £41.61 per megawatt hour, official government figures show.
In all, approximately seven million homes will be powered with clean electricity by these new projects. UK head of energy and natural resources at KPMG Simon Virley welcomed the news, saying that it means offshore wind will be able to contribute even more than at first thought to help the UK hit its net-zero emissions target by 2050.
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