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Shell takes a shine to Emerald

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Shell has taken a majority stake in a large Irish floating wind project being developed off the South coast.

With a 51% stake, Shell has joined Simply Blue Energy to build the 1,000MW Emerald development, planned for 30-60km offshore in the Celtic Sea in water depths of 90m, near the decommissioned Kinsale gas fields. The initial phase of the project, to be known as Sirius, will be a 300MW development targeted for the late-2020’s. This will dwarf the NKr5.0 billion, 11-turbine, 88MW Hywind Tampen currently under construction 125km off Norway in the North Sea, as the largest floating wind project when commissioned.

The project will also help Ireland to improve energy security and decarbonize the energy supply while playing an important role in helping the Irish Government to meet its revised climate target of 5GW of offshore wind by 2030. The Celtic Sea alone is calculated to have 50GW potential installed capacity.

According to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) data, Ireland currently has 4,172MW of installed capacity, but only 25MW of that is offshore, equivalent to less than 1%. The only existing wind farm to date is the 7-turbine, phase I of Arklow Bank in shallow waters of the Irish Sea, commissioned in 2004. SSE Renewables plan to complete the 76-turbine, 520MW Arklow Bank phase II, 13km offshore, in 2025.

Emerald will be Simply Blue Energy’s second floating wind project in the Celtic Sea, and its second collaboration with an oil major. The 100MW Erebus with partner Total, in Welsh waters, is targeted for the mid-2020’s.

Shell and Total are among a group of transitioning oil and gas companies entering floating and fixed-bottom offshore wind, including BP and Equinor in the US, and Eni in the North Sea.

Comprehensive details are to be found on the Global Energy Infrastructure database.

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