Offshore wind is driving profits at the Crown Estate, the property company that supports the country’s monarchy.
The Crown Estate, whose revenue helps determine an annual dividend paid to the royal family, reported a 41% jump in profit to a record £442.6 million ($559 million), largely because of income from fresh leases for six offshore wind farms, according to a statement.
The entire value of the estate’s holdings only rose 1.3% to £15.8 billion as tumbling property prices in London eroded the gain from higher seabed valuations. The portfolio’s total value has doubled in the past decade, largely thanks to the estate’s ownership rights over almost the entire seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy has pushed more money toward its surrounding seabeds, with much of it owned by the Crown Estate and where the country already has the second-largest wind power capacity behind China. The UK aims to more than triple its offshore wind fleet by 2050.
The estate was boosted by a major leasing round for new wind farms signed in January, when companies including BP, TotalEnergies and RWE started to pay more than $1 billion in annual fees for the rights to develop empty sections of the sea.
The property company is managed in the public interest and any surplus goes to the Treasury, which offers a percentage of that as a dividend to the royal family to fund their expenses. In 2021-22, that was £51.8 million.
The Crown Estate also owns the iconic shopping area Regent Street, where footfall rose but is still lower than before the Covid-19 pandemic, it said. The value of its London property portfolio fell 6.5% to £7.2 billion, but its prime office space outperformed its benchmark.