Simply Blue Energy applies for site investigation license

In: Windfarms

Simply Blue Energy is taking the first steps in establishing the Emerald project, a floating offshore wind farm to be installed in the Celtic Sea. An application has been made to the Irish Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage for a license to carry out initial site investigation works under the Foreshore Act, 1933, in an area off the Kinsale coast, County Cork, Ireland.

The wind farm will be located in the vicinity of the Kinsale gas field, which is currently being decommissioned. The project is intended to be delivered as a staged development starting with a pre-commercial array of approximately 100MW and building to an overall capacity of 1GW upon final completion. Simply Blue Energy stated this “stepping-stone” approach 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.

Floating offshore wind technology allows wind turbines to be deployed in much deeper waters (greater than 60m) than fixed bottom alternatives freeing them to be situated in otherwise unviable areas off the south and west coasts and enabling them to be placed further off shore, thereby reducing visual impacts. The Emerald project will deploy Principle Power’s WindFloat technology in water depths of around 85 to 90m, over 35km from the shore.

Developed in Portugal by Principle Power Inc., the WindFloat technology allows projects to be optimally sited in deeper water and features a semisubmersible foundation with "water entrapment plates" fitted onto the bottom of the three pillars and a static and dynamic ballast system to enable stability.

According to Sam Roch-Perks, Managing Director of Simply Blue Energy Ltd. “Ireland has massive unrealised potential for offshore wind energy production, particularly on the south and west coasts, and state of the art 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 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.”

Simply Blue Energy (SBE) Ltd. has already partnered with French energy giant Total for a separate floating offshore wind farm called Erebus which is to be installed 45km south west of the Welsh coast. Total is not involved in the Emerald project.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.

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