No less a personage than the Queen of England has stepped into the renewables debate by promising to invest in wind power projects in the deep waters off Britain.
The Crown Estate, which is the holder of the Queen’s property, says it will pay up to half of all pre-construction development costs for companies wanting to build wind farms in the North Sea.
The announcement has been met with a huge surge in applications for the latest round of licensing, with around 100 companies interested in developing their ideas.
Adam Bruce, chairman of the British Wind Energy Association, said: “The Crown Estate offering to be a development partner takes away much of the cost and uncertainty with third-round projects, which is why we have seen so much interest in the latest licensing round.”
Although deep-water projects are expensive, they could be far more efficient because they could utilise larger turbines and take advantage of stronger prevailing winds, said Bruce. “Unlike onshore wind schemes, the operator is also only dealing with one planning regime and one landlord in the Crown Estate, which is now offering to be a partner.”
A spokeswoman for the Crown Estate said the response to the licensing round had “greatly exceeded our expectations”. The body, which owns parts of Regent Street as well as 55% of Britain’s foreshore, traces its history back to George III, who swapped much of his land for a fixed income from the Treasury.