MOU paves way for faster UK power cable links

Crown Estate and Network Rail agreement to facilitate offshore wind farms' grid connections

Two of the UK's largest landowners - the Crown Estate and Network Rail - have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which they clarify the process for connecting offshore wind farms to the national electricity grid.

The MOU is not legally binding but should assist in getting offshore wind farms connected to the onshore transmission system. The agreement will be managed by monthly meetings between the two parties.

The Crown Estate’s energy and infrastructure portfolio includes around half the UK’s foreshore, tidal river beds and estuaries, and almost the entire seabed out to the UK's territorial limits. The Crown Estate also issues leases for the development of offshore wind farms.

Network Rail owns and operates the UK's rail infrastructure. The UK's offshore wind farms all need grid connections, but given the linear nature of Network Rail's estate, many cable routes have to cross its land.

Alison Nimmo, chief executive of the Crown Estate, said the agreement would see the two parties "collaborate closely in the future to enable more rapid delivery of offshore wind grid connections".

David Biggs, Network Rail’s director of property, said: "By granting rights for cables to cross our land, it demonstrates our support towards the development of offshore wind farms."

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