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As part of the offshore wind test and demonstration leasing program launched in June, The Crown Estate is calling for expressions of interest in off-grid projects and variations to existing offshore wind projects in the U.K.

The Crown Estate, which manages the U.K. seabed, says the test and demonstration leasing program aims to test emerging technologies and help bring down deployment costs.

According to The Crown Estate, approximately 30% of cost reduction initiatives identified in a 2012 offshore wind cost reduction taskforce report do not require a turbine or grid connection. Off-grid projects will allow the test and demonstration of aspects of the offshore development process.

By leasing specific sites for projects that do not involve a grid connection and a turbine, sites can be smaller, cheaper and easier to consent, thereby making delivery timelines faster, The Crown Estate adds. This should enable the test and demonstration of novel technologies and processes such as new foundations, cable laying and operations and maintenance procedures.

Meanwhile, the call for project variations seeks applicants without a site but a defined test and demonstration project, or current seabed right holders that would welcome a test and demonstration project, to express interest in collaborating on joint projects. The Crown Estate says existing rights holders could co-locate the testing and demonstration of emerging technologies with their commercial-scale projects by granting the flexibility for investment in projects alongside existing schemes.

The Crown Estate adds working with existing rights holders should enable projects to be delivered quicker and more effectively than via the development of new facilities on separate seabed locations. Floating wind projects embedded within, or adjacent to, an existing project may be submitted as project variations.

Expressions of interest are due Sept. 11.




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