On 18 November Shell signed an agreement with Irish leading blue economy developer Simply Blue Group to acquire a 51% share of its GW class Western Star venture, which seeks to develop a floating wind farm off the Clare coast in Ireland. This follows a similar agreement earlier this year to jointly develop the Emerald floating wind project off the south coast of Ireland. The Western Star Joint Venture will be developed by Simply Blue Group personnel and Shell floating wind experts, with the project office based at Simply Blue Group headquarters in Cork.

The project aims to harness the huge floating wind potential in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Ireland. The joint venture will seek to co-develop up to 1.35 GW in total: 300 MW – 450 MW in the first phase, with 700 MW – 900 MW to follow. 

Hessel de Jong, Offshore Wind general manager Europe, Shell, said: “Shell has a clear ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society. We aim to provide more renewable power to consumers and businesses alike. Working alongside coastal communities to create shared value is key to success for both the Western Star floating wind project and the previously announced Emerald project, which is why we have chosen to work with Simply Blue Group.”

Because floating wind technology can be installed in deeper waters than fixed wind turbines this project can be placed 35 km – 60 km offshore, keeping visual impact to a minimum. The first phase of the project could include between 15 MW and 18 MW turbines. The assembly, installation and deployment of these turbines could stimulate hundreds of jobs in the local supply chain, while long-term O&M will also require local skills and services.