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Displaying items by tag: Offshore Wind Farm

An Irish renewable energy company is exploring the development of this island's first floating offshore wind farm close to the Kinsale gas field.

Youghal company Simply Blue Energy is already involved with French giant Total in a project to build one of the world’s largest floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea off Pembroke in Wales.

The company has applied for a license to conduct initial site investigations in an area close to the Kinsale gas field which it believes may sustain between seven and 67 wind turbines on completion.

If approved, it would be Ireland’s first floating offshore wind farm.

Kinsale gas field is currently being decommissioned, and Simply Blue Energy says that a floating wind project could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 803,000 Irish homes.

Simply Blue Energy was founded in 2011 by Sam Roch-Perks, a Cork-born engineer and property developer. It focuses on energy and aquaculture projects and has offices in Cornwall, Pembroke, Edinburgh and Co Cork.

The new Programme for Government has raised a target of 3.5 gigawatt (GW) energy production from offshore wind by 2030 to five GW, and specifies the Irish Sea and Celtic Sea for development.

However, space for fixed offshore wind projects may run out in the Irish and Celtic Seas, due to the proximity of the 50-metre contour to the coast.

Floating offshore wind technology allows turbines to be deployed in depths of over 60 metres.

The Emerald project, as the Kinsale development is known, aims to deploy floating turbines in water depths of around 85 to 90m, over 35km from the coast, according to the company.

The world’s first commercial floating wind farm, the 30 MW Hywind Scotland project developed by Norwegian energy company Equinor (formerly Statoil) and Masdar off Aberdeen, was commissioned in 2017.

Simply Blue Energy managing director Sam Roch Perks said that 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 ten times that of our landmass, 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,” he said.

Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA) chairman Peter Coyle, representing emerging offshore renewable technology, welcomed Simply Blue Energy’s announcement.

Simply Blue Energy’s separate Celtic Sea project with Total involves developing a 96 megawatt (MW) floating wind farm in 70 metres of water about 45km off Pembroke in the Celtic Sea.

It has been named Erebus – both the Greek mythological son of Chaos and name of one of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated North-West passage ships which had been built in Pembroke dockyard in Wales and disappeared in 1848.

The project involves mounting 8 to 12MW turbines on semi-submersible “WindFloat” platforms supplied by Principle Power, with generated energy feeding into an established grid connection at Pembroke.

Published in Power From the Sea
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Irish port of Arklow has beaten Wicklow to become the future operations and maintenance base for SSE Renewables' planned expansion of Ireland's first operating wind farm.

An industry source said, reports Independent.ie, that Arklow had won out chiefly because it was closer to the site than Wicklow Port, while Belfast Port was the most likely construction hub for the project, the source added.

In a joint announcement, SSE and Wicklow County Council said Arklow's south dock will be redeveloped as the base for supporting future operations of Arklow Bank. They expect 80 full-time jobs at the facility once the second phase is completed in 2025.

The existing seven-turbine farm at Arklow Bank - built in 2004 as an early test of offshore technology - currently is Ireland's only offshore wind farm and generates 25 megawatts. That is one-fortieth of one gigawatt, the goal set by the State for Ireland's offshore wind generation by 2025.

The second phase, using more powerful turbines, is designed to generate 520 megawatts using 80 to 100 turbines at the site along a swathe of the Irish Sea some 7 kilometres to 13 kilometres offshore.

However, SSE first must identify a construction hub for assembling the massive turbines. No Republic of Ireland port currently has the capacity to host these operations, which require 80-tonne cranes, reinforced quaysides and large warehouses.

An industry source said Belfast Port was most likely to be the construction hub, although a final decision will be made nearer the planned start of construction in 2023.

For further reading click the newspaper's report here.

Published in Power From the Sea

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