Image credit: Simply Blue Energy

UK-based energy developer Simply Blue Energy, and Total, one of the world’s largest energy companies, have established a partnership to develop floating wind projects in the Welsh waters of the Celtic Sea.

The Celtic Sea lies to the south of Wales, to the north of Devon and Cornwall and stretches as far west as Ireland and south to the coast of Brittany.

The first development will be Erebus, a 96 MW demonstration project at water depths of 70m, for which an application has already been submitted to the Crown Estate. The intention is that the project will be developed to use Principle Power’s Windfloat technology, one of the most advanced floating technologies worldwide.

This new partnership between Total and Simply Blue Energy opens a new chapter in the development of renewable energy in the UK.

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Floating wind
UK energy sector

Developing the potential of the Celtic Sea will make a positive contribution to the UK’s target of reaching Net-Zero by 2050, whilst offering exciting new opportunities for industry in areas such as Wales and Cornwall.

Blue Energy has established an office in Pembroke to work with the local supply chain on the opportunities created by this project.

In a recent report, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult has advised that there could be as much as 50GW 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 75GW of operating offshore wind capacity to reach the net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) 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 in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall over the next ten years.

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Patrick Pouyanné, chairman & CEO of Total 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 brings its extensive expertise in offshore operations & maintenance.”

Sam Roch-Perks, managing director of Simply Blue Energy said, “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… helping the UK reach its 2050 Net-Zero target”.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “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.”

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “The Erebus project represents not only a huge step towards our ambitious climate goals here in Wales, as we look to tackle the impact of climate change, but will also represent a huge low-carbon inward investment into Wales, as we move towards a stronger green economy and provide new supply chain opportunities to businesses within the Region. Projects such as these will form the backbone of a prosperous low carbon economy, and will be powered by Welsh ingenuity and innovation.”

“I’m also pleased to note that the Erebus project will see strong connections with the Pembroke Dock Marine (PDM) project – which will see £60m in investment brought to south-west Wales and help boost the capacities and capabilities of Welsh companies in the marine and green energy sectors.”

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