Shell has signed an agreement with Irish developer Simply Blue Energy to acquire a 51% share of their Simply Blue Energy Kinsale venture, which was set up to develop the Emerald Project, a floating wind farm in the Celtic Sea off the south coast of Ireland. The Joint Venture will be operated by Simply Blue Energy supported by Shell’s own floating wind generation experts, with the project office based in the Cork City Docklands rejuvenation area.

This partnership is intended to combine the floating wind track-record and local knowledge of Simply Blue Energy with Shell’s offshore experience and ability to develop large complex projects. The Emerald Project is a good example of the effect of the energy transition, being located in the vicinity of the Kinsale gas fields, currently being decommissioned. This project, says its developers, will use state-of-the-art renewable floating wind-powered generators.

The project is in the early stages and aims to exploit the vast wind potential in the Irish part of the Celtic Sea. 300 MW of installed capacity is planned initially, with the potential to scale-up to a total installed capacity of 1GW. This is equivalent to the output of the Moneypoint power station, Ireland’s largest such plant. This “stepping-stone” approach is designed to build the infrastructure necessary to deliver a project of this scale and ultimately enable Ireland to increase its energy independence, while also reducing emissions. 

Depending on the size of turbines selected, the first phase of the project will include between 15 and 25 turbines. The assembly, installation and deployment of these turbines is expected to stimulate hundreds of high-quality jobs in the local supply chain, while long-term operations and maintenance of the turbines will also require local skills and services in Cork Harbour for up to 25 years.

Colin Crooks, VP Offshore Wind, Shell, commented, “This project could … 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.”

Sam Roch-Perks,  CEO Simply Blue Energy commented, “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. This announcement represents an important milestone in the ability of the Emerald project to ensure the government meets its climate target of 5 GW of offshore wind by 2030.”