Simply Blue Energy Launch the Emerald Floating Offshore Wind Project

July 8, 2020 | Renewables | Energy Facts Staff Writer | 2min

Simply Blue Energy, a leading Irish early stage developer of transformative and sustainable marine projects, are taking the first steps in establishing the Emerald project, a floating offshore wind farm that will start to harness the enormous wind potential of the Celtic Sea. The proposal will allow Ireland to reduce its dependence on foreign fossil fuel imports while helping in the creation of a clean, sustainable future for generations to come.

An application has been made to the Irish Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage for a license to carry out initial site investigation works under the Foreshore Act, 1933, in an area off the Kinsale coast, County Cork, Ireland. The wind park will be located in the vicinity of the Kinsale gas field, which is currently being decommissioned. Emerald envisions the transformation of the maritime landscape from fossil fuel production to a clean renewable energy source.

The project is intended to be delivered as a staged development starting with a pre-commercial array of approximately 100MW and building to an overall capacity of 1GW upon final completion. This “stepping-stone” approach is designed to encourage the growth of the local supply chain, bringing as many jobs to the local area as possible, while building the infrastructure necessary to deliver a project of this scale in a manner that will benefit the community, local stakeholders and the country.

Floating offshore wind technology allows wind turbines to be deployed in much deeper waters (greater than 60m) than fixed bottom alternatives freeing them to be situated in otherwise unviable areas off the south and west coasts and enabling them to be placed further off shore, thereby reducing visual impacts. The Emerald project will deploy Principle Power’s WindFloat® technology in water depths of around 85 to 90m, over 35km from the shore.

According to Sam Roch-Perks, Managing Director of Simply Blue Energy Ltd.: “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 10 times that of our land mass, 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.”

The Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan published in 2019 set a target capacity of at least 3.5 GW for offshore wind energy production by 2030 and the new Programme for Government intends to raise this target to 5 GW by 2030. An ambitious 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions has also been targeted, raising the importance of renewable energy production projects such as this.

Dr. Val Cummins, who will be leading the Ireland team on behalf of Simply Blue Energy, said: “With the new Programme for Government here in Ireland, offshore wind energy production and cuts in greenhouse gas emissions have been given renewed focus. Innovative and ambitious offshore wind energy projects such as this are vital to help us meet our goals and ensure our children benefit from a sustainable future.”