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U.K. Crown Estate to Lease Offshore Sites for Wind-Power Testing

The U.K.’s Crown Estate, owner of the country’s seabed, will lease sites to offshore wind testing and demonstration projects to lure investment in the industry.

The program will include a leasing round for floating offshore wind technology, non-grid connected projects and variations to existing projects, the estate, which generates income for Queen Elizabeth II, said today in an e-mailed statement. It aims to increase market confidence and encourage investment, it said.

“To unlock sustained growth in offshore wind we have to demonstrate that technological advancements can drive down costs,” Martin Simpson, head of new energy and technology at the Crown Estate, said in the statement. Technologies including turbines, foundations and cables will be tested, he said.

The U.K. is the world’s largest offshore wind market, with as much as 73 percent of new capacity last year being installed in Britain, according to the European Wind Energy Association. It has a near 60 percent share of the European Union’s installed capacity. The government is aiming for 18 gigawatts of capacity by 2020.

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