SeaEnergy says Crown Estate plans to award JV a deal in latest UK wind farm leasing round

SeaEnergy (AIM: SEA) said The Crown Estate has notified of its intention to select the joint venture of its 80% owned subsidiary SeaEnergy Renewables Ltd as one of the zone partners in the third offshore wind farm leasing round in the UK (UK Leasing Round 3).

SERL and partner EDP Renovaveis S.A. (EDPR) set up a JV called Moray Offshore Renwables Limited (MORL) in 2009 with SERL holding 25% and EDPR the remaining 75% to bid for zones in UK Round 3 coordinated by the Crown Estate, the outcome of which is expected to be announced during January 2010.

SeaEnergy relayed a statement issued by EDPR, citing the Portuguese group as saying the Crown Estate notified it of its intention to select MORL as one of the zone partners of the bidding round.

Given the information received from The Crown Estate, EDPR expects MORL to be awarded and to enter into a zone development agreement for Zone 1, which is located in the northeast of Scotland with a target capacity of approximately 1.3 GigaWatts.

Should MORL be selected, it will be awarded an exclusive right to proceed first with the study and development of offshore wind farm projects in a specific zone to obtain the relevant key consents, which would authorise the company to begin construction and operation of the relevant offshore wind farm projects. Should MORL be selected as a zone partner, the construction and operation of the wind power projects is expected to take place between 2015 and 2020.

SeaEnergy said last year that it expected over £130 billion of investment into the offshore wind energy opportunity through the Scottish and UK Offshore Rounds.

Broker Ambrian Capital published a report on the company following its change of name from Ramco to SeaEnergy in September, saying that the EDPR/SeaEnergy consortium was ideally placed to be allocated one or more of the nine zones in the programme.

After a £7.5 million placing with UK investment group Lanstead Capital LP which became a 22% shareholder in the new entity, SeaEnergy’s model is de-risked in the near term, with funds to meet corporate overheads and development investment until mid-2010, the broker said, adding that the development business model aims to achieve a 10 times return at the pre-construction stage.

The company sold its rights to the Guneshli field to the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) for a one-off payment of US$4.9 million, intending to use the proceeds for further development of its subsidiary SERL.

SERL has secured a net 456 MW of offshore wind farm acreage alongside large utility partners and a 25% interest in two joint ventures to develop offshore wind farms with a total capacity of over 1800MW (megawatts) with partners Scottish & Southern Energy PLC unit Airtricity and RWE AG unit npower. The company has conceived, developed and delivered the Beatrice offshore wind farm with 10 MW, the world’s first deep water wind farm development.