Industrial Information Resources Inc., of Houston, has issued an advisory reporting that the UK Crown Estates, land owner of the United Kingdom territorial seabed, is granting approval or thirteen wind farm sites to interested private parties. In April, Crown Estates stated that it had received 18 applications for development of the offshore sites.

Bidding for licenses to build on these sites started in May of 2001 and has had a large response, as most energy companies are trying to produce environmentally friendly power in response to tighter environmental controls that are being administered worldwide. If all 13 offshore wind sites as proposed by the Crown Estate were to be developed as planned, the power generated over the next four years would be between 1 1000 MW and 1500 MW. This is the largest investment in renewable energy ever to be proposed by the United Kingdom.

Each offshore site will be approximately three to five miles offshore and is required to have at least thirty 2 MW to 3 MW wind turbine generators with 200 to 250 foot tall steel towers. Among the first power companies to be awarded offshore licenses are Powergen Renewable Offshore Wind, and AMEC Offshore Wind Power with the turbine/generator brand of choice being Danish wind manufacturers VESTAS and NEG Micon.

Developers were invited to apply to the Crown Estate to pre-qualify for an option on 10 km2 of seabed, to accommodate a maximum of thirty turbines, by 9 February this year. The round was structured to establish the financial and technical credentials of the applicant companies and to ensure that their proposed sites, as far as possible, do not conflict with other uses.