All Offshore Wind projects in the UK are constructed on land owned by the Crown. This land is leased and managed on behalf of the Crown by an organization called the Crown Estate. Simply stated, this organization performs a function roughly equivalent to that of the Department of the Interior in the United States.
The Crown Estate is a diverse property business valued at more than £8 billion. The property they manage is owned by the Crown but is not the private property of the monarch. They are governed by an Act of Parliament and work supportively with government; in Westminster, in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and at a local level. Net surplus (profit) goes to the Treasury for the benefit of the nation.
As the entity responsible for the leasing of the land in support of the development of offshore wind in the UK they have organized the development of these project leases into sets commonly called Rounds.
Round 1 began well over a decade ago served as an R&D phase where much of the initial learning about the specifics of installing wind turbines in the sea was begun. Somewhat small in scale and close to shore, Round 1 wind farms have been operational for many years.
Round 2 brought significant scale to the industry in the UK. As of 2013 several of these projects have been completed and several are still under construction.
Round 3 will be by far the most ambitious set of projects in both sheer scale, capacity and distance from shore. The sites (9 zones) have been awarded with projects now in the design stages. Once begun, Round 3 projects will be in construction for many years to come.