Renewable energy development data in the UK

28 March 2019

The Crown Estate (TCE) in the UK is an independent commercial business, created by Act of Parliament. Its role is to ensure that the land and property  invested in and managed are sustainably worked, developed and enjoyed to deliver the best value over the long term. It owns the sea bed out to the 12nm limit, which in practice means 850,000 km2 – 3 times the size of the UK. Since 2004 it provide operators rights to license the generation of renewable energy within EEZ (200nm).

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The Crown Estate collects data for several reasons:

  • Safeguard retention of data and information for industry and future research
  • Ensure that the best available evidence is available for sustainable decision making
  • Provide developers with access to data and information that enhances development opportunities
  • Work with developers to provide stewardship regarding best practice data management
  • Provide information to aid The Crown Estate, industry and public understanding of the marine estate
  • Facilitate collaboration and research for the benefit of the industries concerned
  • Provide support for development programmes in the event of future development opportunities.

All marine environmental data collected by the offshore wind industry in the UK is provided to The Crown Estate. A data clause within the lease agreement with The Crown Estate stipulates this. Commercial confidentiality of some data sets restricts these data sets from being publicly available for a set time period. Data collected concerns bathymetry, sidescan, seismic/chirp (sub-bottom), water levels, flows, waves, sediment, water/sediment quality, weather, benthic, birds, fish, mammals and maritime archaeology data.

Offshore renewable energy developers provide data to The Crown Estate through the ‘Marine Data Exchange’ programme and this information is freely available. A selection of these datasets are being submitted to the EMODnet Data Ingestion portal for further processing and inclusion in the national UK data centres (BODC and BGS), that are partners in EMODnet Ingestion. And as a further follow-up these data collections are populated into European data infrastructures like SeaDataNet and EGDI which feed into EMODnet thematic portals. 

The selection and elaboration of data sets from the 'Marine Data Exchange’ is an ongoing activity and the results can be found in the Ingestion View Submissions service. Do a free search for 'Crown Estate'.