The bidding process for Floating Offshore Wind Leasing Round 5, covering the Celtic Sea, will begin early in 2024. This represents an important milestone and one that will accelerate the deployment of floating offshore wind on our doorstep. As a Welsh company focused on floating wind, Marine Power Systems has, for several years, worked closely with developers to capitalise on the Celtic Sea opportunity. Importantly, that has meant supporting the generation of cheap and secure renewable energy whilst also maximising the impact for the local economy.
This represents a hugely promising opportunity for the UK, already a global leader in floating offshore wind, with the potential to export products and services around the world.
The next leasing round covers three Project Development Areas (PDA) and seeks to establish a new floating wind sector in the Celtic Sea off the coast of South Wales and South West England. Whilst it is expected that the first phase will support commercial development of up to 4.5GW the UK Government has recently confirmed that it intends to open up a further 12GW of floating offshore wind capacity in the Celtic Sea.
The Celtic Sea’s shallow waters and harsh metocean conditions create unique challenges for energy developers operating there. Marine Power Systems’ platform technology is designed to address these challenges and we’re able to deliver that technology at scale through local ports and supply chain, underpinned by a delivery model we have developed to enable rapid volume manufacturing in the region.
The Crown Estate is particularly focussed on creating benefits to the local community, through the UKs transition to net zero, and to do that in harmony with the natural environment.
Our offshore wind floating platform, PelaFlex does not require specialised vessels during installation and the ability to use low specification and existing marine infrastructure means it is possible to maximise local benefits. Our Tension Legged Platform (TLP) mooring configuration has the lowest footprint of the four main types of foundation systems, which minimises the impact on the environment and other marine stakeholders such as fisheries and tourism.
The upcoming leasing round represents a critical juncture in the UK’s efforts to expand its offshore wind capacity. As well as helping support this rapidly expanding sector it will also serve to further develop the technology and drive down the cost of energy.