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Shell takes majority stake in Irish floating wind venture

© Supplied by EquinorEquinor ScotWind floating

Shell has struck a deal to take a majority share in a planned floating wind farm off the coast of Ireland.

The oil and gas giant has acquired the 51% stake in the Western Star venture from Irish developer Simply Blue Group.

It follows a similar deal earlier this year between the pair to jointly develop the Emerald floating wind project.

Earmarked for off the coast of County Clare, the Western Star Joint Venture will be developed by Simply Blue Group personnel and Shell (LON: RDSA) floating wind experts.

The project office will be based at Simply Blue Group’s headquarters in Cork.

Designed to  harness the vast floating wind potential in the Atlantic Ocean, the pair intend to co-develop up to 1.35 gigawatts (GW) of floating wind capacity in total.

Between 300 megawatts (MW) to 450MW will be developed in the first phase, with between 700MW to 900MW to follow.

That’s the equivalent of powering over one million Irish homes.

Hessel de Jong, offshore wind general manager Europe at 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.”

Shell’s decision to continue its move into Ireland comes just weeks after Equinor opted to pull out of the country.

It was announced at the beginning of the month that the Norwegian energy giant would not continuing with its offshore wind activities in Ireland, which it has been undertaking in partnership with ESB.

Hugh Kelly, co-founder and chief commercial director at Simply Blue Group, said: “There is tremendous wind potential off the West Coast of Ireland and Simply Blue Group are delighted to partner once again with Shell to jointly develop the Western Star project.

“The project will utilise floating offshore wind technology to produce zero-carbon electricity and will greatly help Ireland progress towards a green energy future with domestically sourced sustainable electricity delivering both environmental and economic benefits to the entire country.

“Simply Blue Group are committed to developing floating offshore wind projects in Ireland.”

The majority of the world’s best wind resources are found in waters that are to deep for fixed bottom turbines, meaning floating wind is the option.

The first phase of the project could include between 15MW and 18MW turbines.

The assembly, installation and deployment of these turbines could stimulate hundreds of high-quality jobs in the local supply chain.

Long-term operations and maintenance of the turbines will also require local skills and services to support this industry.

The news follows hot on the heels of Shell confirming plans to move its headquarters to the UK.

Alongside ScottishPower, the supermajor is also bidding to develop the “world’s first” large-scale floating wind farm as part of ScotWind. 

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