Guess who rents out the seabed for wind turbines?
The Crown Estate will earn windfall profits of at least £100million a year from Britain's booming offshore renewable energy industry.
The estate, which owns the foreshore and seabed around the UK, has already signed contracts worth tens of millions of pounds with operators of offshore wind farms.
Rents from the siting of wind turbines are only the beginning of a vast new commercial opportunity for the Crown Estate. In addition to a huge expansion in offshore wind power and the development of tidal power, the estate will profit from the laying of subsea cables and an emerging industry in storing carbon captured from coal-fired power stations.
Rob Hastings, the Crown Estate's marine director, said that the group, which manages land and assets owned by the Queen but pays most of its revenues to the Treasury, charges offshore wind operators an annual “rent” of just under 1 per cent of the value of the electricity generated.
The Crown Estate has full ownership of the seabed for 12 nautical miles around the UK and further rights out to the extent of Britain's continental shelf, at 200 miles.
At least someone will profit from them I suppose, though it seems the money will circulate as pointlessly as the blades from the Treasury to the operators to The Crown and back to the Treasury....