Shell buys 51% stake in Irish floating offshore wind project

Shell bought the stake in the Western Star venture from Irish developer Simply Blue Group for an undisclosed sum.

Floating offshore wind technology is still in its infancy but has the potential to unlock vast power resources in deep waters.

The Western Star Project will be located at least 35km off the west coast of Co Clare and will have a total capacity of 1.35 GW, enough to power 1,145,000 homes in Ireland.

The floating technology proposed for this project will allow the turbines to be located far from shore and in waters over 100m deep.

The company said that by locating the turbines so far offshore, the visual impact of the wind farm for coastal communities is greatly reduced.

Locating the turbines further out to sea also places the farm in an area of higher wind energy potential.

The project will help to reduce Ireland’s dependence on foreign fossil fuel imports, where a large portion of the country’s current electricity production comes from.

The project, which will be developed by Simply Blue Group and Shell floating wind experts, will be developed in two phases of 300 to 450 megawatt and 700 to 900 megawatt.

This is equivalent to powering over one million Irish homes, Shell said.

Today’s deal follows a similar agreement earlier this year to jointly develop the Emerald floating wind project off the south coast of Ireland.

Hugh Kelly, co-founder and chief commercial director of 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,” Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly also said that the assembly, installation and deployment of the deep sea 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, he added.