In the first of a series of renewable energy blogs, our renewables director shares his seven bid-winning tips ahead of the upcoming offshore wind leasing rounds. Each article in our renewables mini-series will go more in depth on each of these seven points.
Both The Crown Estate (TCE) and Crown Estate Scotland (CES) are currently working to develop new leasing rounds to allow more offshore wind projects to be built over the next decade and beyond. Preparing yourself for the bidding round involves a lot of thought and resources and the process can be a daunting thought for existing UK offshore wind developers as well as new entrants.
With our experience and knowledge of previous leasing rounds and ongoing support to the UK offshore renewables industry in all UK jurisdictions, we have devised seven key tips to focus thoughts and make your bid a success:
1) It must be buildable
TCE and CES need to be convinced that the whole project stacks up. This starts with transparent, auditable site/zone selection which can easily be communicated through the bid documentation.
2) It must be ‘consentable’
TCE/CES will be looking not just for a project which works economically and technically, but a convincing project which hits the sweet spot of balancing environmental, social, safety, technical and economic issues, involving relevant stakeholders from day one.
3) It must be economically viable
The route to market for generated power needs to be clear or, at the very least, the threats and opportunities around it clearly identified, and mitigation identified. With a rapid acceleration in an array of energy systems these will almost certainly play a part in projects which will commence operations in the late 2020s.
4) OPEX must be considered
Of course understanding the OPEX is a key part of levelized cost of energy (LCOE), but the factors affecting OPEX can play into the earliest stages of decision making at site and early concept selection.
5) The team must be convincing
Everything in the bid needs to stack up technically and commercially, but above this TCE and CES need to be convinced that they are awarding a project to a credible and convincing project team/consortium that has the capability technically, economically and in terms of resource to deliver the project by the required milestone dates.
6) The approach must be robust
Since the first UK offshore wind farm two decades ago so many lessons have been learned. With more new entrants anticipated in the UK offshore wind market it will be important to ensure past learnings are embedded into project design from the start.
7) Lastly, it must be innovative
With Contracts for Difference (CfD) increasingly competitive as the price per MWh comes down (see graph), both major innovation and marginal gains innovation will continue to play an important role and may prove to be the difference in a winning bid.
Our team at Xodus Group specialises in early phase project development, with vast experience working on winning bids to TCE and a history of working on UK offshore renewable projects since 1993. We are using our suite of tools and techniques across advisory, engineering and environment to help our clients be successful in both fixed and floating offshore wind.