The UK’s largest planning-consented offshore wind demonstration site, the Blyth site off the Northumberland coast covers around 14 sq km in size and received planning consent for a 99MW offshore wind demonstration project in November 2013 – making it the most promising test and demonstration site currently available in the UK.
The project will comprise a maximum of 15 pre-commercial prototype turbines to be constructed across three arrays, with a maximum number of 5 turbines in each array with turbines positioned in water depths from 35m to 58m and distances from the coast between 5.7km and 13.8km.
The facility at Blyth will provide a unique opportunity to develop facilities for the demonstration and testing of prototype and pre-commercial turbines.
Here are the Crown Estate replies to our inquiries:
What rights – and when – are being sold off; How? by IPO? By tender/blind bid?
The Crown Estate has so far called for expressions of interest (EOI) in the seabed rights to the site, which it hopes to offer with the planning consent obtained previously by NaREC.
How have rights been acquired?
NaREC (which has now been incorporated into the ORE Catapult) held an agreement for lease from The Crown Estate for the site which enabled them to gain planning consent. Now, in order to take the project forward, significant investment from industry is needed to get a project in the water by 2016/17 – which is why the site is being offered to the market.
What price/s are you looking for?
Should a developer progress through the leasing process and secure an agreement for lease (AfL) with The Crown Estate, they would pay rent for the site at a level commensurate with its use for test and demonstration. The amount paid is confidential between the developer and Crown Estate.
When is bid/tender deadline/s?
The Crown Estate has asked for EOI by 19 June 2014 to establish market interest, with a view to running a full tender process thereafter.
In parallel with the Crown Estate sale, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult will shortly be launching a process for the sale of the remaining complementary assets, comprising primarily of the grid connection, associated onshore land rights and wind data.
ORE Catapult is seeking to dispose of 100% of the shares of its interest in the project, developed by the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), which will enable construction of a 99MW offshore wind test and demonstration site.
An ORE spokesman said: “With its world-class testing and demonstration facilities at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth, the ORE Catapult will work closely and constructively with the eventual successful bidder for the Blyth Offshore Demonstration project for the good of the whole sector.”