Cluster formed to push floating wind in Celtic Sea

Digital rendering of Hexicon offshore wind generation.

September 22 (Renewables Now) - The newly created Celtic Sea Cluster will seek to speed up floating offshore wind development in the Celtic Sea, bounded by the coasts of Cornwall, Wales and Ireland, it was announced Monday.

Led by the Welsh government and Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, the cluster will work to address barriers to development and foster local supply chain. It is supported by Marine Energy Wales, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Celtic Sea Power, with members to include developers and supply chain businesses.

According to a recent ORE Catapult report, floating offshore wind could deliver GBP 43.6 billion (USD 59.6bn/EUR 50.8bn) in UK gross value add (GVA) by 2050 and create more than 29,000 jobs. The Cluster is seen as a step towards unlocking this potential. The Celtic Sea is one of the locations in the UK suitable for floating wind turbines, the other being the waters north and east of Scotland and east of North East England. And floating will likely account for a substantial part of the at least 100 GW of offshore wind the UK is estimated to need by 2050 to meet net zero targets.

“By drawing together all of the major stakeholders under one roof, and our twinning with the Celtic Sea Developers Alliance, we believe we have all the right ingredients to accelerate the pace of development and make the Celtic Sea the easiest place in the UK to develop Floating wind,” said Cluster chairman Stephen Wyatt, from ORE Catapult.

Celtic Sea Cluster said the Celtic Sea is already seeing development activities and listed current projects. These include the 100-MW White Cross project, led by a joint venture between Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios SA and Flotation Energy plc, and the Llyr 1 and Llyr 2 projects, of 100 MW each, testing different technologies, led by a joint venture between SBM Offshore and Cierco Ltd. Simply Blue Energy is developing the 96-MW Erebus and 100-MW Valorous sites in partnership with TotalEnergies. It has also partnered with Shell to develop the 1-GW Emerald project off Ireland’s south coast. Hexicon plans a 30-MW project on the wave hub site offshore Cornwall.

The Crown Estate has already said it is starting work on a new leasing opportunity for early commercial-scale floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea with a focus on projects of around 300 MW, supporting the government’s objective of 1 GW of floating wind by 2030.

(GBP 1 = USD 1.367/EUR 1.165)

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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