Ireland

Ireland

Irish developer wants to turn gas field into floating wind farm off Cork

‘Investigation works’ for a 100MW floater — to be phased up to 1GW — in an old gas field off south-west Ireland are being carried out by developer Simply Blue Energy to assess the project’s feasibility.

Ireland's only operating offshore project is in the Irish Sea off the country's east coast (pic: GE Renewable Energy)
Ireland's only operating offshore project is in the Irish Sea off the country's east coast (pic: GE Renewable Energy)

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If built, the Emerald floater would be set 35km off the Kinsale coast in County Cork in place of the old Kinsale gas field, which is currently being decommissioned. 

The developer is initially planning a 100MW floating offshore wind farm, but hopes to boost the project’s overall capacity to 1GW upon final completion. The project would use Principle Power's WindFloat seme-submersible foundations.

This “stepping-stone” approach would help bolster the local supply chain for floating wind, bringing as many jobs to the local area as possible, according to the company.

Ireland could become the “‘green Gulf’ of renewable energy”, Sam Roch-Perks, managing director of Simply Blue Energy, added.

The Emerald site is located 35km off Ireland's south-west coast, with water depths of around 90 metres.

Wind experts have in the past voiced concerns about the difficulties of taking advantage of wind resources from the Atlantic for floating projects along the country's west coast.

Simply Blue Energy also owns a 20% stake in the nascent 96MW offshore Erebus project, with oil major Total holding the 80% majority stake.

The Irish government’s climate action plan, published last year, sets a target capacity of at least 3.5GW of offshore wind energy production by 2030 although there is talk to raise this ambition to 5GW in the same timeframe.

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