Sector pacesetter Orsted, and industry bodies Renewable UK and WindEurope claimed Britain's seabed landlord The Crown Estate was driving up the cost of developing offshore wind, as they criticised the outcome of the latest auction for new leases.

The Crown Estate awarded almost 8GW-worth of projects preferred bidder status in its eagerly-awaited Round 4, with oil giants BP and Total notable among the winners alongside utility RWE, netting payments worth billions of pounds in the process.

The lease round – which grants developers exclusive access to advance projects in areas off England and Wales – was the first run using so-called “option fees” that awards zones based on bids for annual payments in the early stages of development.