Irish renewables developer Simply Blue Energy has taken the first step toward what could become a 1-GW floating offshore windfarm in the Celtic Sea.
An application has been made to the Irish Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage for a licence to carry out initial site investigation works under the Foreshore Act, 1933, in an area off the Kinsale coast, County Cork, Ireland.
The windfarm will be located in the vicinity of the Kinsale gas field, which is currently being decommissioned. The project envisions the transformation of the maritime landscape from fossil fuel production to a clean, renewable energy source.
The ‘Emerald’ project is intended to be delivered as a staged development starting with a pre-commercial array of approximately 100 MW and building to an overall capacity of 1 GW on final completion.
This ‘stepping-stone’ approach – similar to the approach the company is using for the Erebus floating wind project off the coast of Wales – is designed to encourage the growth of the local supply chain, bringing as many jobs to the local area as possible, while building the infrastructure necessary to deliver a project of this scale in a manner that will benefit the community, local stakeholders and the country.
The Emerald project will deploy Principle Power’s WindFloat technology in water depths of 85 m to 90 m approximately 35 km from the shore.
Simply Blue Energy managing director Sam Roch-Perks said, “Ireland has massive unrealised potential for offshore wind energy production, particularly on the south and west coasts, and floating wind technology is the key to unlocking that potential.
“With a sea area 10 times that of our land mass, we have a chance to catch and become a leader in offshore wind energy production both in Europe and globally, allowing us to become the ‘Green Gulf’ of renewable energy.”
The Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan published in 2019 set a target capacity of at least 3.5 GW for offshore wind energy production by 2030 and the new Programme for Government intends to raise this target to 5 GW by 2030.
An ambitious 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions has also been targeted, raising the importance of renewable energy production projects such as this.
Dr Val Cummins, who will be leading the Ireland team on behalf of Simply Blue Energy said, “With the new Programme for Government here in Ireland, offshore wind energy production and cuts in greenhouse gas emissions have been given renewed focus.
“Innovative and ambitious offshore wind energy projects such as this are vital to help us meet our goals and ensure our children benefit from a sustainable future.”
In June, Riviera held a series of webinars on offshore wind. These are available to view in our webinar library