Development and project management covers the activities up to the point of final investment decision (FID) and managing the construction of the project through to commercial operations date (COD). This includes activities required to secure planning consents, such as , activities required to define the design and engineering aspects, and all aspects of project management.

What it costs

About £66 million for a 450 MW floating offshore wind farm. This does not include any site leasing costs incurred by the project developer. It does include development expenditure incurred by lost projects (not itemised in sections below) to enable a realistic industry LCOE.

Who supplies them

The development and consenting stage is managed by the floating offshore wind farm developer. The main floating offshore wind developers include Bluefloat, BP, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Corio, EDF, EnBW, Equinor, ESB, Falck, Iberdrola, Northland, Ørsted, RWE, Shell, Simply Blue, SSE, TotalEnergies and Ocean Winds.

Key facts

There are no major differences in the development and project management processes between floating offshore wind farms and fixed offshore wind farms. The environmental impacts can be different in some areas, for example mooring lines could have a larger impact on fishing activities.

Sea bed leasing for existing floating offshore wind farms has been managed by The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland through several leasing rounds that began in 2000.

The Crown Estate manages the sea bed in the territorial waters of England, Northern Ireland, and Wales and adjacent areas of the United Kingdom EEZ. Crown Estate Scotland manages the sea bed in Scottish territorial waters and adjacent areas of the United Kingdom Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Before the consenting process can begin, the developer must secure a sea bed lease from The Crown Estate or Crown Estate Scotland. These are granted through periodic leasing rounds.

In England and Wales, offshore wind projects of more than 100 MW installed capacity are defined as nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) and are examined by the Planning Inspectorate.

The Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) grants or refuses consent based on a recommendation made by the Planning Inspectorate.

In England, a Development Consent Order is granted under the Planning Act 2008 (as amended) which incorporates a number of consents, including a marine licence and onshore consents. In Wales, the marine licence is determined by Natural Resources Wales.

In Scotland, Marine Scotland examines applications for the offshore works and Scottish Ministers grant or refuse consent under the Marine (Scotland) Act of 2010 (up to 12 nm from shore) and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 for projects 12 to 200 nm from shore. A streamlined process incorporates consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 in parallel.

In Northern Ireland, the Marine Strategy and Licensing team within the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) manages the consent application and decision-making process for offshore wind projects.

Other important aspects of the development process include securing land permissions for onshore substations and cable routes and engaging with the supply chain.

Onshore consent including the transmission cable landfall and associated onshore grid connection infrastructure is awarded by the relevant local planning authority, except where a project is handled under an NSIP in England and Wales, in which case the onshore consents are considered within the NSIP process.

Developers typically build internal teams of up to 50 staff during the development phase, which contract specialist packages of work to environmental and engineering consultancies and data acquisition and analysis companies.

The development process from first consideration of a site to FID typically takes between four and seven years in the UK. The offshore wind industry, and in particular some of the organisations which regulate it in Europe, are looking at how it can be accelerated.

Guide to a Floating Offshore Wind Farm