Crown Estate agrees rights to six new demo zones

The Crown Estate has agreed seabed rights for six new wave and tidal demonstration zones and five new wave and tidal current sites.

By K.Steiner-Dicks on Jul 10, 2014

The locations for the demonstration zones and project sites include three off the coast of England, four off the coast of Scotland, one in Northern Ireland and three off the coast of Wales.

As manager of the UK seabed, The Crown Estate grants rights to organisations to operate on the seabed. However, any projects must go through the statutory planning process, including stakeholder and community consultation, gaining consent from relevant planning authorities before development can commence.

Under the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC any plan or project that may have an impact on European Natura 2000 Sites requires an Appropriate Assessment. There was therefore a need for a strategic level Habitat Regulation Appraisal (HRA) for this latest leasing round.

The UK-wide plan-level HRA and supporting documents were prepared by ABPmer.

Colin Scott, Project Director said: “We were thrilled to be commissioned to undertake the wave and tidal appraisal, the first such UK-wide plan-level HRA in the UK. We used our substantial experience of undertaking previous plan-level HRAs for Marine Scotland and the MMO and worked closely with all the devolved administrations and Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies to ensure a consistent approach was applied.

“In addition to the HRA document, we also prepared individual summary reports for each of the project sites and demonstration areas which will be of assistance to developers when doing project level appropriate assessments.”

Another company that welcomes to new potential business is Regen SW. The demonstration zones will further strengthen the region’s position as a leading centre for marine renewable energy by providing larger sites for technology demonstration and energy projects of up to 30MW in size.

The new south west demonstration zones are for tidal energy off the coast of North Devon and for wave energy off North Cornwall. In addition a new demonstration zone for wave energy has been identified off the South Wales coast of Pembrokeshire. Significantly all three demonstration zones will be managed by Wave Hub Ltd, the current managers of the Wave Hub site off Cornwall.

Johnny Gowdy, programme director at Regen SW says “The demonstration zones are an important addition to the assets and facilities that we have within the South West Marine Energy Park. It’s a big step forward for tidal energy with a demonstration zone in the Bristol Channel off Lynmouth and a new project lease for MCT Siemens at Portland. It is also great to see that Wave Hub has been awarded the lease management and is expanding its scope, particularly following the recent news regarding the first deployment of a wave energy device at the site.”

In addition to the demonstration zones, five new wave and tidal project leases have also been granted for marine renewable energy projects across the UK including a lease to the south east of Portland Bill, Dorset, for Bristol based tidal developer company Siemens MCT.

The announcement of the demonstration zones follows the signing of a collaboration agreement between the South West Marine Energy Park and Marine Energy Pembrokeshire.