Shell has today signed an agreement to acquire a 51% share of Simply Blue Energy's Kinsale venture set up to develop the Emerald floating offshore wind project.
The 300MW Emerald Emerald (300MW) Offshoreoff Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details floating offshore wind project, located 35-60km off Kinsale, County Cork on Ireland's south-west coast, is in the early stages of planning development.
The partners aim to develop a project with an initial capacity of 300MW – triple what was announced last year – with the potential to scale up to a total installed capacity of 1GW.
To help achieve this, Shell’s floating wind experts will support the project, operated by Simply Blue Energy, to build the floating wind project in waters much deeper than would be possible for bottom-fixed offshore wind turbines.
Depending on the size of turbines selected, the first phase of the project will include between 15 and 25 turbines, which will be erected in place of the old Kinsale gas field, which is currently being decommissioned. This suggests an average power rating of 12-20MW.
CEO of Simply Blue Energy, Sam Roch-Perks, said floating wind energy presents a major opportunity for Ireland to become a “Green Gulf”.
He added: “Our shared vision for Emerald is to do the right thing for our stakeholders, the community and the environment. This announcement represents an important milestone in the ability of the Emerald project to ensure the government meets its climate target of 5GW of offshore wind by 2030.”
Currently, Ireland’s only operatoinal offshore wind farm is the 25.2MW Arklow Bank Arklow Bank (25.2MW) OffshoreOff Arklow, Co Wicklow, Wicklow, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details off the coast of County Wicklow, developed by GE Renewables and SSE Renewables. However, the latter has plans to create a 520MW extension, known as the 520MW Arklow Bank 2 Arklow Bank 2 (520MW) Offshoreoff Arklow, County Wicklow, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details.
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 but the Irish government last year accelerated over 3GW of offshore wind capacity through a new marine permitting regime.
The giant offshore projects – mostly on the east coast – include ESB and Parkwind’s 330MW Oriel Oriel (330MW) Offshoreoff Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details off County Louth in the north-east of Ireland, Innogy’s 1000MW Dublin Array Dublin Array (1000MW) Offshoreon the Kish and Bray Banks, off Dublin and Wicklow, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details, a two-project development off Ireland’s south-east coast, EDF Renewables and Fred Olsen's 1000MW Codling Wind Park Extension Codling Wind Park Extension (1000MW) OffshoreBetween Greystones and Wicklow, Wicklow, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details, a two-project development off the south-east coast of Ireland, Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta’s 400MW Skerd Rocks Skerd Rocks (400MW) Offshoreoff Carna, Galway, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details in Galway bay off Ireland’s west coast, and Element Power’s 750MW North Irish Sea Array (NISA) North Irish Sea Array (NISA) (750MW) OffshoreIreland, Europe Click to see full details in the Irish Sea off the country’s east coast.
Alongside Emerald, Simply Blue Energy also owns a 20% stake in the nascent 96MW Erebus Erebus (96MW) Offshoreoff Pembroke Dock, Wales, UK, Europe Click to see full details offshore project off Pembroke Dock in Wales, with oil major Total holding the 80% majority stake.