The Crown Estate has received a total of 40 zone bids from 18 different companies/consortia for the tender process of the licensing of Round 3 offshore wind farms. The licensing bid is for 25 gigawatt offshore wind energy by 2020. The companies belong to at least nine different countries. Many additional companies are committed to bids as alliance partners and supply chain participants.

Marine Estate Director Rob Hastings said: “The Crown Estate is committed to overcoming these key challenges, and we are working closely with Government and other stakeholders to look at the issues surrounding supply chain developments and the economic opportunities within.

“We keenly await the Government decision on the plan for offshore energy development, which is scheduled for June 2009; following the completion of the open consultation on the Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report. This is critical to timely completion of the zone award process.”

Energy and Climate Change Minister Mike O’Brien said: “It is very encouraging there is so much interest in the latest round of offshore wind development. It is expected the UK will need to generate around 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with the majority coming from wind power. Such an expansion represents a massive long term investment opportunity which has the potential to generate tens of thousands of jobs in the offshore wind sector as well as helping in the fight against climate change.

“The Government is working to make it easier for companies to build offshore wind farms by speeding up the planning process, improving access to the onshore grid network and encouraging growth in the supply chain through innovation.”