The county's seabed landlord, tasked with overseeing the use of the UK's waters, completed an initial assessment of the eight sites and will now take on a habitats regulations assessment over the next year.
Following this, expected to be completed in summer 2019, leases for the eight projects will be expanded.
Developers behind the sites will then be expected to complete environmental assessments and construction consent applications.
The projects will then be eligible to bid for UK support payments in future Contract for Difference (CfD) auction rounds.
Under the Crown Estate criteria, each site will have a maximum extension allowance of "no greater than the capacity of the operational project". It launched the investigation into the eight sites in June.
|Project||Developer / Owner||Capacity||Turbines||Commission date|
|Sheringham Shoal||Equinor, Macquarie,
|Greater Gabbard||SSE, Innogy||504MW||SWT-3.6-107||August 2013|
|Gwynt y Mor||Innogy, Macquarie,
Stadtwerke München, Siemens
|Race Bank||Ørsted, Macquarie||573MW||SWT-6.0-154||February 2018|
|Galloper||Innogy, Sumitomo, Macquarie,
ESB, Siemens Financial Services
This could lead to a potential 3.4GW of offshore wind capacity being approved, with project synergies from the original sites and new technology promoting lower costs.
The Crown Estate said it would continue to identify new areas for offshore wind deployments.