A new partnership between EDF Renewables Ireland and Simply Blue Group will see the companies progress two floating wind projects totalling 2.65GW.
The Western Star and Emerald floating wind projects will be developed under a joint venture, with the partnership subject to a merger clearance expected in the coming months.
The Irish Government has been placing its bets on wind generation in a bid to both improve its own energy security and decarbonise its energy grid. As a result, the government has established targets for 7GW of offshore wind generation, 8GW of onshore wind and 2GW of floating wind by 2030.
Ireland’s offshore wind sector was recently awarded over 3GW in the country’s first Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS-1) auction. The results were dubbed a “breakthrough moment for Ireland’s offshore wind future” by the Irish Government.
The Western Star floating wind project will be located at least 35km off the west coast of Clare in waters over 100m deep and have a total capacity of up to 1.35GW, while the Emerald Floating Wind project – to be located off the south coast of Cork – will have a total capacity of up to 1.3GW.
In addition to this, a statement released by EDF Renewables has indicated that the two companies could explore future offshore wind developments in the south and west coasts of Ireland citing “great potential in the scale of opportunity for floating offshore wind”.
“We are very pleased to sign the partnership on these two exciting floating offshore wind projects. Emerald and Western Star will complement our flagship, fixed-bottom foundation, Codling Wind Park development off the east coast of Ireland, diversifying our offshore portfolio in Ireland and strengthening our position as a key player in the Irish and UK offshore markets,” said Matthieu Hue, CEO of EDF Renewables UK and Ireland.
“These projects further strengthen EDF Renewables’ position as a leading global player in the emerging floating wind industry, joining a portfolio that includes our Gwynt Glas project in the Celtic Sea and Provence Grand Large off the south coast of France.
“We are looking forward to working closely with Simply Blue Group to deliver on the two projects’ great potential to make a significant contribution to the Irish Government’s renewable energy goals.”
EDF Renewables had been supported by the aforementioned ORESS-1 auction via its proposed Codling Wind Park. This offshore wind farm is to be developed off the coast of County Wicklow by both EDF Renewables and Fred. Olsen Seawind – an offshore wind developer.
The project has a total area of approximately 125km² and could have a combined maximum total energy output of up to 1,300MW. This wind farm will harness wind speeds of 9.7m/s at 130 metres above sea level and be situated on shallow waters with depths ranging from 10 to 25 metres.
Less than 100 turbines will be utilised to produce the renewable energy.
Commenting on the partnership with EDF Renewables Ireland, Sam Roch Perks, CEO of Simply Blue Group, said: “Simply Blue are delighted to partner with EDF Renewables to deliver these strategic assets and to deliver Ireland’s first floating offshore wind farms.
“As an international renewable energy company, EDF Renewables are major players in the energy transition worldwide, ensuring alignment with Simply Blue’s culture and commitment to making a positive impact on climate, biodiversity and coastal communities. Simply Blue’s expertise in floating offshore wind, with over 10GW of floating projects in development globally, has been brought to bear on the selection of the two sites, following extensive stakeholder engagement and initial environmental assessments.”