Simply Blue and EDF team up to build two Irish offshore windfarms

31 May 2023

Val Cummins, Simply Blue and Ryanne Burges, EDF Renewables. Image: Naoise Culhane Photography

The two projects are off the coasts of Clare and Cork and could eventually power the equivalent of up to 2m homes.

Irish marine project developer Simply Blue Group has entered a partnership with France’s EDF Renewables on two floating offshore wind projects.

The two companies will be 50/50 joint venture partners on two projects located off the coasts of Clare and Cork. This partnership is subject to merger clearance, which is expected to be completed in the coming months.

It is hoped that these two windfarms will generate enough electricity to power two million homes.

The first project is called Western Star and will be located at least 35km off the west coast of Clare, with a planned capacity of up to 1.35GW. The Emerald floating wind project, meanwhile, will be located off the southern coast of Cork with a capacity of 1.3GW.

The two companies said they have confidence in the Irish market, supported by the Irish Government’s commitment to generate 7GW of offshore wind electricity by 2030.

Simply Blue creates sustainable floating wind, wave energy and low-impact aquaculture infrastructure. The company opened a new headquarters in Blackrock, Cork in 2020.

In 2021, it partnered with oil and gas giant Shell on the Emerald project, which involves a floating windfarm off the south coast of Ireland in the Celtic Sea. It is hoped this project could eventually power the equivalent of 800,000 homes.

Val Cummins of Simply Blue is the project manager for both Emerald and Western Star and said the offshore wind sector could have a “transformational positive impact on Ireland’s maritime and energy landscape”.

Simply Blue Group CEO Sam Roch-Perks said EDF Renewables is a major player in the global energy transition and aligns with the Irish company’s culture.

“Simply Blue’s expertise in floating offshore wind, with over 10GW of floating projects in development globally, has been brought to bear on the selection of the two sites, following extensive stakeholder engagement and initial environmental assessments,” Roch-Perks said.

Last year, EDF Renewables revealed plans to develop a 50MW onshore wind farm in Clare, with the goal of having this windfarm operational by 2026.

EDF Renewables UK and Ireland CEO Matthieu Hue said the two new projects will strengthen the company’s leading position in the “emerging floating wind industry”.

“Emerald and Western Star will complement our flagship, fixed-bottom foundation, Codling Wind Park development off the east coast of Ireland, diversifying our offshore portfolio in Ireland and strengthening our position as a key player in the Irish and UK offshore markets,” Hue said.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic