The Queen could soon be earning £100m a year from Norfolk wind farms
- Credit: Archant
The Royal family could be set for a windfall worth hundreds of millions of pounds - thanks to seabeds off the East Anglian coast.
The Crown Estate owns the seabeds up to twelve nautical miles off the coast of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Managers of the estate have previously offered leases of these areas to wind farm companies, and have so far identified another five areas which could be developed - one of which being East Anglia.
Although all of the profits made by the auction of these leases is returned to the Treasury, the government allocates 25% of the net profits of the Crown Estate to the Queen as part of the Sovereign Grant.
Currently the Queen's seabeds generate 8% of the country's electricity generation, an operation which saw her collect £41m from existing leases last year.
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However, this could increase by a third under government targets by 2030 - and if successful would see the Royals collecting more than £100m a year within a decade.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Estate said: "We are tasked with managing the estate, and return 100% of the profits to the treasury - which sets how much is returned to the Royal family."
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Officials from the Crown Estate will be meeting with wind industry leaders tomorrow to set out how the bidding for tenures will take place.
"This is round four of the leases of the Crown Estate, and currently is in its very early stages. We are hoping to launch the auction by the end of the year and as a result will see the wind farms built by the late 2020s, early 2030s," the spokeswoman continued.
The five areas - which are subject to change - which could be leased are Dogger Bank, Southern North Sea, East Anglia, North Wales and the Irish Sea.
The areas are identified by looking at a range of factors such as fishing opportunities, Ministry of Defence training grounds, existing projects and pipework, and so on.
Projects already at the planning inspectorate stage in Norfolk - such as Vattenfall's Vanguard and Boreas projects - will not be impacted as their leases were confirmed in a previous round.