Crown Estate commits further £25m to offshore wind data

The Crown Estate has committed a further £25 million to its programme to harness data to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind generation.

The Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme aims to bring together key stakeholders to gather and share evidence that can facilitate the growth of the offshore wind sector in a way that protects and enhances the environment.

The programme currently has a portfolio of 23 projects representing £33 million of total investment – £22 million from The Crown Estate’s core investment fund and £11 million of co-funding or in-kind contributions.

The Crown Estate said these projects will help to find space on the “busy seabed” through spatial co-ordination and co-location, and inform policy and regulation to enable a more integrated design of wind farms and the natural environment. The body said this includes potential compensation measures to address any environmental impacts.

The latest funding announced on Monday (6 June) will double its committed investment in the programme, which is being delivered in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to £50 million.

Among other things, The Crown Estate said the additional funding will be used to support projects that address priority bird, marine mammal and seabed habitat research gaps identified in the programme’s first year.

It said there will also be a “renewed focus” on floating offshore wind and cable infrastructure after the government’s energy security strategy increased the offshore wind target by 10GW to 50GW, including 5GW of floating wind generation in deeper waters.

Dan Labbad, chief executive of The Crown Estate, said: “As the need to accelerate offshore wind deployment ramps up, restoring our natural environment has never been more important.

“We are committed to safeguarding the marine environment whilst shaping, innovating, informing and enabling the development of offshore wind for the long-term benefit of the nation.

“By doubling our investment in the Offshore Wind and Evidence programme, we can continue to provide world class data and evidence to support both government and the industry in making the best decisions to unlock the pathway to net zero, in harmony with healthy, biodiverse seas.”

Energy minister Greg Hands said: “Delivering clean, affordable and homegrown energy is an urgent priority for this government as we made clear in the British Energy Security Strategy.

“This investment will help support that, boosting our status as an offshore wind superpower while protecting our iconic island coastline.”