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New Industry Collaboration to Accelerate Celtic Sea Offshore Wind Development

A new Celtic Sea Cluster will accelerate offshore wind creating more than 29,000 UK jobs and delivering £43.6bn in UK gross value add (GVA)[1] by 2050 and boost industry in Wales and the South West.

The Celtic Sea Cluster aims to accelerate floating wind, responding to the growing number of project developers keen to harness the power of the Celtic Sea, situated off the coast between Cornwall, Wales and Ireland.  The Cluster will work to tackle barriers to the pace of development, identify key enabling infrastructure, and provide support for the emerging supply chain.   The Cluster represents a significant step forward in unlocking potentially 150GW of offshore wind in the UK by 2050[2]which will help create more than 29,000 UK jobs and deliver £43.6bn of GVA, much of which could be expected to fall to industry in Wales and the South West.

With the UK setting a target of 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, the ambition is at least 1GW will come from floating wind. And with the Climate Change Committee predicting we’ll need at least 100GW of offshore wind by 2050 to meet our Net Zero targets, a significant proportion of which will be floating wind, the scale of the task is enormous, requiring a coordinated response from the UK supply chain.

There is a potential economic boom for Wales and the South West from the engineering, operations, and maintenance of the Celtic Sea floating wind platforms and turbines. Development has already started in the Celtic Sea.

  • Marine project developer Simply Blue Energy has partnered with TotalEnergies to develop the 96MW Erebus and 100MW Valorous sites off the south coast of Wales and with Shell to develop the 1GW Emerald project off the south coast of Ireland
  • Hexicon has partnered with Bechtel to develop a 30MW array on the wave hub site off the north coast of Cornwall
  • The 100MW White Cross project, located off the coast of Devon and Cornwall led by a joint venture between Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, S.A. and Flotation Energy plc.
  • The Llŷr 1 and Llŷr 2 projects, comprising two separate 100MW sites, each testing different technologies, will be located south of Pembroke, on the Welsh coast led by Floventis Energy Limited, a newly established joint venture between SBM Offshore and Cierco Ltd.

The Crown Estate, which acts as manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has already announced that it is commencing work to design and deliver a new leasing opportunity for early commercial-scale floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea.  The leasing process will focus on projects of circa 300MW in scale – up to 3 times larger than any rights previously awarded to floating wind in the UK – demonstrating a new frontier for the sector and an important step towards the Government’s ambition to deliver 1 GW of floating wind by 2030.

The Cluster is led by the Welsh Government and Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, supported by Marine Energy Wales, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Celtic Sea Power, acknowledging the need for a coordinated regional approach between Wales and Cornwall to harness their respective supply chain strengths. Cluster members will include developers and supply chain companies with an interest in floating wind in the Celtic Sea.

Cluster Chairman Dr Stephen Wyatt, from ORE Catapult said: “We are primarily here to boost local supply chain and create jobs in the green economy, but we must first create the market.  By drawing together all of the major stakeholders under one roof, and our twinning with the Celtic Sea Developers Alliance, we believe we have all the right ingredients to accelerate the pace of development and make the Celtic Sea the easiest place in the UK to develop Floating wind.

“The Cluster will work hard for industry to remove barriers to deployment, and maximise the supply chain opportunity, particularly for local companies, and ultimately achieve the UK content ambitions of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal.”

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said: “Wales has the industrial capability to provide the manufacturing engine room for Celtic Sea developers. The Cluster will enable more coherent conversations to understand requirements and accelerate delivery.”

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership Non-Executive Director Steve Jermy said: “Cornwall is home to a strong offshore renewables supply chain, which has growing links with the broader supply chain capabilities in the Great South West, such as autonomy in Plymouth and composites in Bristol.  These in turn should match very well with the heavy engineering strengths in South Wales, and the Celtic Sea Cluster seeks to play a key role in growing this excellent regional capability to both meet the needs of the project developer and maximise the chances of job creation across the South West and Wales.”

The Celtic Sea Supply Chain Cluster will formally launch on Tuesday 28th September in Cardiff, with a simultaneous live broadcast webinar. Registration for the event is now using the following link.