Leasing the seabed to offshore wind developers was the most profitable business last year for The Crown Estate Ltd., the company that generates income for Queen Elizabeth II.
Earnings from the clean-energy technology in 2017 jumped 32 percent from the previous year to 37 million pounds ($49 million), according to a statement. The gain boosted the investor’s energy, minerals and infrastructure portfolio income by 20 percent.
The U.K. is a world leader in offshore wind with more turbines in the sea than any other nation. At least one machine was installed every day in 2017, making up more than half of Europe’s new capacity. The sector is on track to generate 10 percent of Britain’s electricity by 2020, according to the statement.
“This has been another momentous year for offshore wind and the sector has played an important role in driving our performance,” said Chief Executive Officer Alison Nimmo. “We have continued to work closely with our customers to reinforce the U.K.’s place as a global leader in the sector and make an important contribution to the U.K. energy mix.”
The property in the Crown Estate’s portfolio is owned by the crown and managed in the public interest along with the Queen’s private properties. Profits are sent to the Treasury, but the Queen’s household receives a part of that, which is known as the “sovereign grant.” It’s used to maintain royal palaces and official residences.
Its holdings returned 11 percent and it paid 329 million pounds to the Treasury in 2017. Retail lettings in central London were another key growth driver.