Shell joins Simply Blue Energy for floating windfarm off Kinsale

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Oil and gas giant Shell has announced a partnership with Irish marine-project developer Simply Blue Energy and its Emerald Project today (27 January).

Simply Blue Energy, which creates sustainable floating wind, wave energy and low-impact aquaculture infrastructure, opened a new headquarters in Blackrock, Co Cork last year.

Its Emerald Project involves a floating windfarm off the south coast of Ireland in the Celtic Sea. A base office will operate out of the Cork City Docklands rejuvenation area.

The Emerald Project

Shell will acquire a 51pc share of the Emerald Project under the new agreement. It will provide floating wind experts and the team will use state-of-the-art renewable floating wind-powered generators to “exploit the vast floating wind potential in the Irish part of the Celtic Sea”, the companies said.

The initial plan is to install a capacity of 300MW with a view to scaling up to 1GW over time. According to Shell and Simply Blue Energy, 1GW is equivalent to powering 800,000 Irish homes or the capacity of Ireland’s biggest electricity-generation station, Moneypoint.

The development will have less of a “visual impact” than wind turbines, Shell and Simply Blue Energy said, because floating wind technology can be installed in deeper waters. For this reason, the Emerald Project will be built between 35km and 60km off shore.

It will use between 15 and 25 turbines, depending on their size. Their installation and long-term management “could stimulate hundreds of high-quality jobs in the local supply chain”, they added, and will “require local skills and services in Cork Harbour for up to 25 years”.

A map showing the location of the Emerald Project off the south coast of Ireland.

The Emerald Project on a map. Image: Simply Blue Energy

Helping Ireland become a ‘green gulf’

Shell’s vice-president for offshore wind, Colin Crooks, said: “This project could provide green power to consumers and businesses alike and contribute towards Shell’s ambition to be a net-zero emissions business by 2050, or sooner. Working alongside coastal communities to create shared value is key to success and this is why we have chosen and look forward to working with Simply Blue Energy, who are rooted in the local community.”

Simply Blue Energy CEO Sam Roch-Perks added: “Floating wind energy is a major opportunity for Ireland to become a ‘green gulf’, by realising the benefits of its vast marine and offshore wind resources without negatively impacting our beautiful coastlines.

“Our shared vision for Emerald is to do the right thing for our stakeholders, the community and the environment. This announcement represents an important milestone in the ability of the Emerald Project to ensure the government meets its climate target of 5GW of offshore wind by 2030.”

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