New SFI project aims to boost Ireland’s floating offshore wind sector

4 Sep 2023

Shannon Foynes Port engineering and port services manager John Carlton, MaREI-funded investigator Dr Jimmy Murphy and ESB programme director for Green Atlantic Ronan O’Flynn. Image: John Allen

The MaREI project is focused on finding suitable points for wet storage, a key requirement for facilitating floating offshore wind.

A new €250,000 study is taking place at a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centre to help Ireland develop floating offshore wind projects in the future.

The study is being conducted by MaREI, the SFI research centre for energy, climate and marine at University College Cork. The funding and industry knowledge for the study is being provided by ESB and Shannon Foynes Port.

The research will focus on wet storage, which is the temporary offshore storage of floating offshore wind turbines before installation. MaREI said wet storage is a key requirement for facilitating floating offshore wind, which can help Ireland reach its renewable energy targets.

The first stage of the study will seek to learn more about the conditions and constraints associated with wet storage, along with the identification of suitable sites in Ireland. The second stage will focus on the technical challenges of designing these wet storage sites, such as the optimum layout and mooring configuration.

The end goal of the project is to develop considerations for a future floating offshore wind industry in Ireland and to support academic and industrial collaboration.

“This project will be an important enabler for the emerging floating wind energy sector in Ireland and will allow strategic planning decisions to be made related to the efficient deployment of floating windfarms,” said MaREI-funded investigator Dr Jimmy Murphy.

“MaREI has a track record of research and development in floating wind and welcomes this collaboration with ESB and Shannon Foynes Port to address the challenge of identifying potential wet storage locations and optimising design layout.”

The Government’s most recent Climate Action Plan from December 2022 set a target of at least 7GW of offshore wind energy to be produced by 2030. However, 2GW of that will be used for green hydrogen production.

At the start of 2022, MaREI researcher Aldert Otter discussed Ireland’s potential to become an offshore wind superpower – if it can overcome certain challenges.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic