The six offshore wind farms are expected to starting coming on stream by the end of the decade and have potential to generate 8GW of electricity – enough for more than seven million homes.
The lease agreements are being hailed as ‘a major step forward’ for the UK wind power industry.
Three of the six projects are off the North Wales, Cumbria and Lancashire coast, and three are located in the North Sea off the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coast.
Dan Labbad, chief executive of The Crown Estate, said: “The UK’s offshore wind achievements to date are nothing short of remarkable, and this next generation of projects point to an even more exciting and dynamic future.
“They demonstrate the far-reaching value that our world-class offshore wind sector can deliver for the nation: home grown energy for all, jobs and investment for communities, revenue for the taxpayer, clean energy for the benefit of the environment and a considerate, sustainable approach which respects our rich biodiversity.
“Moving forward, working with our stakeholders to continue unlocking this value is what drives us, and we are more committed than ever to lead the way in ensuring this important benefit is realised for our environment and for the nation.”
Energy minister Graham Stuart said: “Britain’s position as the European leader in offshore wind shows no signs of letting up. These six projects demonstrate how areas across the UK can contribute to ensuring Britain meets its world-leading ambition of deploying up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030.
“Offshore wind is at the heart of our goal to secure clean, affordable and resilient energy supply for all in the UK, while bringing major business, investment and job opportunities along with it.”
The Crown Estate will lead a programme of work to oversee the development of environmental compensation plans for two protected sites.
Under the agreements for lease, The Crown Estate receives an annual option fee from each project developer, until they are ready to enter into a lease for the seabed site. The option fee sum was determined by the project developers themselves through a bidding process to ensure fair value.
The total commitment across all six projects is approximately £1bn per year.
The wind power developers involved include RWE Renewables, TotalEnergies, Corio Generation, EnBW and BP.
Renewable UK chief executive Dan McGrail said: “This announcement represents a major step forward not just for these major offshore wind projects but also for the industry as a whole, as these lease agreements will strengthen our energy security, create jobs and support development of new UK supply chains. It demonstrates the continuing ability of the UK to attract billions of pounds in private investment due to the maturity of our world-class offshore wind market, which is enabling the redevelopment and regeneration of all areas of the UK, especially in coastal communities which need levelling up. Offshore wind is playing the leading role in the UK’s transition to clean power, becoming the backbone of our future energy system, and helping us to reach net zero as fast as possible.”