Irish firm Simply Blue Energy (SBE) and global energy services giant Subsea 7 have teamed up to develop a new floating offshore wind farm off the north-east coast.
The companies have formed a joint venture, with SBE holding a majority stake, to work on plans for the “pre-commercial” project – named Salamander – which they say will deliver supply chain opportunities for the region.
Their 200 megawatt (MW) scheme will require a seabed lease “in due course” from Crown Estate Scotland but not under the delayed ScotWind leasing process for commercial projects, for which the deadline for applications is July 16.
It is hoped Salamander will be considered under a separate process for “innovation leasing and test and demonstration projects” mentioned in the Scottish Government’s Offshore Wind Sectoral Marine Plan, published last October.
A spokeswoman for Subsea 7 said Salamander would be located off Peterhead.
Cork-based SBE is part of renewables-focused Simply Blue Group (SBG), whose co-founder and managing director Sam Roch-Perks said: “Scotland is one of the best locations on the planet for the development of floating wind projects.
“As a leading floating wind developer, we want to contribute to the development of this market.
“Despite best intentions, previous projects have not achieved the hoped-for regional supply chain benefits, but we believe that for the supply chain to capitalise on the opportunities from ScotWind, a stepping-stone project like Salamander is needed.”
Subsea 7 chief executive John Evans added: “Subsea 7 has a long track record of successfully delivering offshore energy projects which positions us well to support Simply Blue Energy at this early stage of the Salamander project.
“We believe that floating wind has an important role to play in the wider energy transition and a low carbon future. We look forward to working with Simply Blue Energy on this exciting opportunity.”
Scottish waters are already home to the 30MW Hywind floating wind farm, 18 miles off Peterhead.
And construction is well under way on the Kincardine floating offshore wind farm, just over nine miles from Aberdeen.
Paul O’Brien, speaking for the rapidly growing DeepWind cluster of supply chain firms throughout Scotland, said: “It’s great to see two of our most active members, Simply Blue Energy and Subsea 7, team up to deliver a floating wind project of such scale in Scottish waters.
“This completes a Celtic triple with Simply Blue now developing floating wind projects in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.
“Even better is their plan to develop the local supply chain in Scotland to help deliver Salamander as a precursor to the commercial scale floating wind projects coming in the ScotWind leasing round.”
SBG said Salamander and its projects in the Celtic Sea, where it is working with Total and Shell, could deliver up to 60% of the UK Government’s target of one gigawatt of floating wind energy generation by 2030.
The company names its projects after ships. Salamander was a warship of the 16th Century Royal Scots Navy, and a wedding present from Francis I of France to James V of Scotland.