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Saturday 24 March 2018
24 March 2018 - NEWS UPDATE
Renewable Energy

UK opens up more seabed to match renewable energy demand

The Crown Estate, manager of the UK seabed, has agreed 11 new leasing deals to further open up the country’s waters to match the increasing demand from the renewable energy market.


The agreements include six new wave and tidal current demonstration zones, which for the first time will enable locally-based organisations to manage and sub-let parts of the seabed to a range of wave and tidal stream developers.
In addition, five new wave and tidal current sites will be created, each with the potential to deliver a project of between 10 and 30 MW.
Rob Hastings, Director of Energy and Infrastructure at The Crown Estate said: “By providing these additional seabed rights we are pleased to be enabling further technology development and commercialisation, which will be critical if the UK is to unlock its significant natural resources for wave and tidal current energy.
“This innovative approach to leasing the seabed sees us responding to market demand and introducing managed demonstration zones to give other organisations the opportunity to lend tangible support in their local areas.”

Wave Hub has been successful in securing the management of the North Cornwall Demonstration Zone.
Commercial Director of Wave Hub Limited, Stuart Herbert said: "Wave Hub has extensive knowledge and expertise relating to the management of offshore renewable energy test sites through all stages of development from feasibility study to infrastructure installation and operation.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to combine many years of practical offshore test site development and management expertise with the specific local knowledge and established stakeholder network developed by our partners at Cornwall Council.
“The formation of this experienced partnership will ensure that the opportunity to maximise marine energy development in the region is fully exploited."
Cornwall Council Portfolio holder for Economy and Culture, Cllr Julian German added: “We are hugely encouraged by The Crown Estate's decision to create this new Demonstration Zone, which will be managed by Wave Hub. In the global drive towards the future commercialisation, it is further recognition of the strategic importance of Cornwall in the deployment of Marine Renewable Energy technologies especially in terms of wave and floating wind technologies.
“Through its commitments to Wave Hub and the recently launched Offshore Renewable Development Programme Cornwall Council remains fully dedicated to ongoing investment and development in this growing sector, to ensure the commercialisation of wave technology and the continued growth of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly world leading Marine Renewable supply Chain."
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, and include:
Wave Hub          
North Cornwall:  Wave demonstration zone
North Devon: Tidal stream demonstration zone
South Pembrokeshire: Wave demonstration zone
Siemens MCT   
Dorset: Portland Bill, tidal stream project site
Northern Ireland: Strangford Lough, tidal stream project site
Scotland: Mull of Galloway, tidal stream project site
Scotland: Isle of Harris, wave demonstration zone
Scotland: Islay, tidal stream demonstration zone
Scotland: Stronsay Firth, tidal stream managed test facility project
Menter Môn     
Wales: West Anglesey, tidal stream demonstration zone
Wales: Holyhead Deep, tidal stream project site.
Scottish Renewables also welcomed today’s announcement, which means that local organisations will be able to manage and sub-let parts of the seabed to wave and tidal developers for the very first time.
 Wales has 1,200 kilometres of coastline that is very rich in low velocity tidal currents. In addition, Wales has strategically located deep-sea ports and – most importantly – access to the national UK grid.
The existing grid capacity reduces the time for commercial roll-out and is likely to make Wales the leading region for marine energy in the UK. A report commissioned by the Welsh government shows that marine energy could boost the Welsh economy by up to £840m annually after 1GW has been deployed.
Following today’s announcement, Minesto will now prepare consent application for the site near Holyhead Island in Wales prior to the construction of a 10MW marine energy array in 2016, which will supply electricity to approximately 8,000 households, and make Wales a world leader in marine energy.

Minesto plans to start the installation of a 10MW marine energy array in 2016. The Welsh waters hold a potential of several 1000’s of MW, which makes Wales one of the most suitable places in the world for low velocity tidal energy.
The Crown Estate launched the wave and tidal current leasing process in October 2013 and these new demonstration zones are in areas specially chosen by The Crown Estate for their suitability for test and demonstration activities.
With this leasing process now complete, the next stage is for the demonstration zone managers to start to attract developers for the zones and to undertake further work, such as gathering environmental data that can help developers with the consenting process.  
The Crown Estate will now consider how best to optimise future leasing processes as required to meet market appetite.
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.
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