Round 3 of offshore wind farm tender opened in the UK

The Crown Estate has launched a tender process, inviting offshore wind energy developers for the Round 3 offshore wind farm leasing programme for delivery of up to 25 GW of new offshore wind farm sites by 2020.

Ninety-six UK and international companies have registered their interest in Round 3. 

Potential developers who have registered have been invited to bid for one or more of nine development zones identified through the Marine Resource System (MaRS) by The Crown Estate. These zones will be finalised following the Government's decision on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) being undertaken by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). 

Successful bidders will have exclusive rights to develop wind farms in specified zones in partnership with The Crown Estate. The selected partners will remain wholly responsible for construction and operation of windfarm sites. For its part, The Crown Estate is not intending to take any role in the eventual ownership or operation of offshore windfarms resulting from this programme other than to provide leases of the seabed to operators.

Terming the development as a huge opportunity for investors and developers, Business Secretary John Hutton said offshore wind could dramatically increase the amount of electricity generated in this country from clean, green sources.

Rob Hastings, The Crown Estate's Director of Marine Estates said attracting such investment "is the only way in which government targets can be met, enabling offshore wind to play a full part in the UK's energy mix – tackling concerns over both energy security and climate change."

Round 3 builds on the 8 GW of offshore windfarm projects currently under development and to be delivered by Rounds 1 and 2 of offshore windfarm development. If successful, the addition of the capacity from Round 3 could lead to a potential total of 33 GW of wind energy coming from offshore wind resources.

The Crown Estate is being advised by Norton Rose LLP, SJ Berwin LLP, Gleeds, Climate Change Capital and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.