In March 2020, Total teamed up with Simply Blue Energy in a JV named Blue Gem Wind, to develop floating wind sites in the Welsh waters of the Celtic Sea. An application was submitted at that time to the Crown Estate for the first demonstration site, the 96MW Erebus Project south of Pembroke Dock where Blue Gem Wind has recently set up a new office. This site and others that are planned to follow will be developed for deployment of Principle Power’s WindFloat® technology with the turbines being chosen during the development process.
SBE as part of Blue Gem Wind has been engaging with the local supply chain around the Celtic Sea to help them be ready to take part in this development. The target commissioning date is for the mid-2020s and will be subject to the availability of suitable revenue support as described in Renewable UK’s recent report Floating Wind, the UK Industry Ambition published in October 2019. SBE was represented on the task force that drew up the report. The opportunity has been given a lift by the launch, on 2nd March 2020, of the government’s consultation on amendments to the CFD scheme which made significant proposals on how it will support this new sector.
A report by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult focusing on supply chain opportunities produced for the Welsh Government and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership identified that floating offshore wind projects in the Celtic Sea could support 3,200 jobs in south west England and Wales and bring £682m in benefits to the local supply chain by 2030.