By Anna Hirtenstein

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.


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