Round 4 Wind Farms

In October 2019, the Crown Estate announced Round 4 auctions of the UK seabed for further wind farm development after 130 commercial bidders had expressed an interest. It was stated that “Leasing Round 4 follows more than 18 months of engagement with the market and stakeholders through which The Crown Estate developed and refined its proposals.” The national plan for Round 4 is to provide an extra 7.3GW of offshore wind capacity (i.e. 7300MW) in total. The new wind farms would need to occupy only a very small proportion [2.5%] of the total area being offered by the Crown Estate . This gives great scope to meet national targets for renewables – whilst also selecting those areas that minimise negative impacts on the coast.

Figure 3: Round 4 Leasing Areas

Four areas have been chosen as leasing areas for bidding, and they are shown in Figure 3. Leasing Area 1 (Dogger Bank) has large areas which are far from the shore and are in relatively shallow water. On average this region is 100 miles from the shore and the water depth ranges from 15 to 36 metres. The government has recently announced the upgrading of the infrastructure in the Teesside and Humber regions to enable greater use of this area. This makes them ideally suited to wind farms.

The Dogger Bank area also has the area to accommodate 114 GW of wind farm capacity. Of this only 5GW is already committed leaving enough for more than 8 times the area needed to meet the new target of a total of 40GW of by 2030. This is based upon the currently installed capacity of 10.4GW, with a further 18.2GW either under construction or planned leaving only 11.8GW more required to meet the 40GW target.

Consequently there is still plenty of space to accommodate the 1.2GW Rampion Extension wind farm within the Dogger bank area.

Creating new wind farms is a national priority. However, these need to be carefully planned and sited to minimise their harm. Area 1 is an ideal location to achieve this and to accommodate all the UK wind farm needs.

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