Shell has signed an agreement with Simply Blue Energy, an early stage marine project developer of sustainable floating wind, wave energy and aquaculture projects, to acquire a 51% share of their Simply Blue Energy Kinsale venture, which was set up to develop the Emerald Project, a floating wind farm in the Celtic Sea, off the south coast of Ireland.
The joint venture will be operated by Simply Blue Energy supported by Shell floating wind experts, with the project office based in the Cork City Docklands rejuvenation area.
“Floating wind energy is an opportunity for Ireland to utilize its vast marine and offshore wind resources without negatively impacting our beautiful coastlines,” says Sam Roch-Perks, CEO of Simply Blue Energy. “Simply Blue Energy is delighted to work with Shell to further our portfolio of floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea. 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 5 GW of offshore wind by 2030.”
The project is in the early stages and aims to exploit the vast floating wind potential in the Irish part of the Celtic Sea. Initially, 300 MW of installed capacity is planned with the potential to scale-up to a total installed capacity of 1 GW. This “stepping-stone” approach is designed to build the infrastructure necessary to deliver a project of this scale and ultimately enable Ireland to increase its energy independence, while also reducing emissions.
Floating wind technology can be installed in deeper waters than fixed wind turbines allowing this project to be placed 35 km – 60 km offshore, reducing visual impacts. Depending on the size of the turbines selected, the first phase of the project will include between 15 and 25 turbines. The assembly, installation and deployment of these turbines could stimulate hundreds of high-quality jobs in the local supply chain. Long-term operations and maintenance of the turbines will also require local skills and services in Cork Harbor for up to 25 years.