The Crown Estate, owners of most of the UK’s coastlines, will from April this year speak to businesses interested in developing offshore wind and tidal energy.

The Crown Estates will consult with interested parties until the end of May, with a target of producing a gigawatt of offshore wind and tidal power/ .

Crown Estates head of external relations, marine policy and planning, Dermot Grimson, said: “Market interest in projects off Northern Ireland is growing and The Crown Estate is delighted to be working closely with DETI to help realise the potential.

“In inviting views on how development rights should be offered, we hope to approach site leasing in a way that maximises market interest and commitment to development and thereby find a ‘win-win’ for the industry and Northern Ireland.”

A recent strategic environmental assessment of the province’s offshore resource suggested around 600 to 900MegaWatts of offshore wind and 300MW of tidal stream projects were feasible by 2020.

Development rights could be awarded by this time next year.

Luke Walsh

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