Shell joins Simply Blue Energy for floating windfarm off Cork coast

27 Jan 2021

Image: © Max Topchii/

The companies are partnering on the Emerald Project, a floating windfarm that could eventually power the equivalent of up to 800,000 homes.

Oil and gas giant Shell has announced a partnership with Irish marine-project developer Simply Blue Energy, acquiring a 51pc share in a floating windfarm to be built off the coast of Cork.

Simply Blue Energy, which creates sustainable floating wind, wave energy and low-impact aquaculture infrastructure, opened a new headquarters in Blackrock, Co Cork, last year.

It is now working on the Emerald Project, which involves a floating windfarm off the south coast of Ireland in the Celtic Sea, with a project office based out of Cork city.

The joint venture will be operated by Simply Blue Energy, supported by Shell floating wind experts. The project aims to use renewable floating wind-powered generators to “exploit the vast floating wind potential in the Irish part of the Celtic Sea”, the companies said.

The initial plan is to install a capacity of 300MW with the potential to scale up to 1GW over time. This is equivalent to powering 800,000 Irish homes or the capacity of Ireland’s largest electricity-generation station, Moneypoint.

The development will have less of a “visual impact” than wind turbines, Shell and Simply Blue Energy said, because floating wind technology can be installed in deeper waters. The Emerald Project will be built between 35km and 60km away from the shore.

The first phase of the project will use between 15 and 25 turbines, depending on their size. Installation and long-term management of the project “could stimulate hundreds of high-quality jobs in the local supply chain”, the companies said, and will “require local skills and services in Cork Harbour for up to 25 years”.

A map showing the location of the Emerald Project off the south coast of Ireland.

The Emerald Project on a map. Image: Simply Blue Energy

Helping Ireland become a ‘green gulf’

Speaking about the joint venture, Shell’s vice-president for offshore wind, Colin Crooks, said: “This project could provide green power to consumers and businesses alike and 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.”

Simply Blue Energy CEO Sam Roch-Perks added: “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.

“Our shared vision for Emerald is to do the right thing for our stakeholders, the community and the environment. This announcement represents an important milestone in the ability of the Emerald Project to ensure the Government meets its climate target of 5GW of offshore wind by 2030.”

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021