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Could new offshore windfarms be coming to East Anglia?

PUBLISHED: 11:50 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:50 19 September 2019

More offshore wind farms could be on the way for the North Sea off East Anglia, as a new government bidding process opens. Eastern Regions has been named as one of four bidding areas named by The Crown Estate. Picture: JASON HAWKES

More offshore wind farms could be on the way for the North Sea off East Anglia, as a new government bidding process opens. Eastern Regions has been named as one of four bidding areas named by The Crown Estate. Picture: JASON HAWKES

Jason Hawkes

The Government has opened bidding for the rights to develop new seabed wind farms in four key areas - including East Anglia.

The Crown Estate has launched Offshore Wind Leasing round 4, with seabed rights for seabed offshore wind development up for bids, around England and Wales, including sites in the North Sea off East Anglia Picture: THE CROWN ESTATEThe Crown Estate has launched Offshore Wind Leasing round 4, with seabed rights for seabed offshore wind development up for bids, around England and Wales, including sites in the North Sea off East Anglia Picture: THE CROWN ESTATE

If granted and developed, these new offshore wind farms in four areas around the UK could meet the electricity needs of more than six million homes.

The Crown Estate has launched offshore wind leasing round four, the first major bidding round in a decade, to allow developers to get involved and invest in new schemes.

Four key bidding areas have been identified - Eastern Regions together with Dogger Bank, the South East, Northern Wales and the Irish Sea.

Huub den Rooijen, director of energy, minerals and infrastructure at the Crown Estate, said: "The UK is home to the world's largest offshore wind market, attracting global investment, meeting UK electricity needs, and playing a crucial role in the transition to a net zero economy.

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"Leasing Round 4 is the next chapter in this remarkable transition, developed and refined through extensive engagement with the market and stakeholders, to deliver an attractive, fair, objective process, which helps to balance a range of interests in the marine environment.

"Today's announcement is the first stage of a leasing process, which will see projects evaluated through the Habits Regulations Assessment, after which planning consent will be sought through the statutory consenting process.

"The projects awarded will be joining a robust pipeline of projects in UK waters, delivering clean, affordable, home-grown electricity."

Hugh McNeal, chief executive of industry body RenewableUK, said: "It's great to see the UK stepping up its ambition with a new round of offshore wind development now underway. This will engender further momentum in our world-leading offshore wind sector, securing billions of pounds in investment in new infrastructure.

"These powerhouses of the future will create thousands of highly-skilled jobs, continuing the rapid regeneration of our coastal communities, as well as benefitting our UK-wide supply chain."

After bids have been fully assessed, for environmental and other impact, new seabed rights could be awarded in 2021, with projects becoming operational in the late 2020s.

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