Total, one of the world’s largest energy companies, and energy developer Simply Blue Energy, have established a partnership to develop floating wind projects in Welsh waters in the Celtic Sea
The first development will be Erebus, a 96-MW demonstration project at water depths of 70 m, for which an application has already been submitted to the Crown Estate.
The Celtic Sea describes the sea to the south of Wales to the north of Devon and Cornwall. It stretches as far west as Ireland and south to the coast of Brittany. The intention is that the project will be developed using Principle Power’s WindFloat technology.
Total chairman and chief executive Patrick Pouyanné said, “With its entry into floating offshore wind, Total confirms its ambition to contribute to the development of renewable energy worldwide.
“Floating offshore wind is an extremely promising and technical segment where Total can apply its extensive expertise in offshore operations and maintenance. Total has the appropriate skills to meet the technological and financial requirements that determine the success of future floating offshore developments.”
Simply Blue Energy was founded in 2011. The company develops energy and aquaculture projects around the coasts of the UK and Ireland. Simply Blue managing director Sam Roch-Perks said, “We are delighted to have signed the agreement with Total. Together we will progress the first stepping-stone projects that will allow the local supply chain to build up their capabilities to help deliver the larger projects that will be developed for the 2030s.
“It is like being in Aberdeen in the 1960s except from Pembroke we look out onto a sea that can deliver wind energy, helping the UK reach its 2050 net-zero target.”
“The new partnership between Total and Simply Blue Energy opens a new chapter in the development of renewable energy in the UK,” said Simply Blue.
“Developing the potential of the Celtic Sea will make a positive contribution to the UK’s target of reaching net zero by 2050, while offering exciting new opportunities for industry in areas such as Wales and Cornwall.”
Simply Blue Energy has established an office in Pembroke to work with the local supply chain on the opportunities created by the project.
In a recent report, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult advised there could be as much as 50 GW of electricity capacity available in the Celtic Sea in Irish and UK waters. This is a significant amount of capacity given that the Committee on Climate Change suggests the UK will need at least 75 GW of operating offshore wind capacity to reach the net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.
It is estimated by the Catapult that the first GW in the Celtic Sea, could potentially deliver 3,000 jobs and £682M (US$802M) in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall over the next 10 years.
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said, “With support from the UK Government the offshore wind sector has flourished, creating thousands of jobs in low-carbon industries and their supply chains.
“The development of a floating offshore wind project in Welsh waters would bring investment into the west of Wales and generate hundreds of high-quality jobs. Companies across the country involved in the development could play an integral role in accelerating the shift to clean growth and help us to reach our aim of net-zero emissions by 2050.”
Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (CIOS LEP) Mark Duddridge said, “We are delighted that Simply Blue Energy, whose UK office is in the CIOS LEP Enterprise Zone at Newquay, have reached this agreement with Total to work together to develop floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea.
“The LEP has, for 18 months now, been leading the initiative to secure floating offshore wind deployment in the region, and the commitment of a major multi-national such as Total provides clear evidence of both the reality of this new market and of the possibilities for both jobs and economic development.”