WELSH GOVERNMENT and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership have formally launched the Celtic Sea Cluster. With support from Marine Energy Wales, Celtic Sea Power and Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the Celtic Sea Cluster aims to accelerate offshore wind deployment in the Celtic Sea region.

Analysis suggests 2040 targets for floating wind deployment in the Celtic Sea need to be on track to establish around 3.4GW (UK’s 100GW scenario) deployed capacity to achieve 2050 Net Zero[1].

Floating offshore wind is expected to contribute to the creation of more than 29,000 UK jobs and deliver an anticipated £43.6bn in UK gross value add (GVA)[2] by 2050 against a 100GW offshore wind deployment scenario whilst boosting industry and opportunity in Wales and the South West.

Welsh Government and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership have recognised the need for a coordinated approach to secure market opportunity, underpinned by a long-term strategy for infrastructure whilst harnessing their respective supply chain strengths to grow sustainable jobs.

The launch, supported by Chair of the Celtic Sea All Party Parliamentary Group and Devon MP Selaine Saxby, set the vision of collaboration and cooperation, where the Cluster Board, working closely with The Crown Estate and Celtic Sea Developers Alliance, set a vision to significantly reduce the current 10 years for offshore wind projects to achieve first power generation.

Selaine Saxby, Chair of the APPG, said: “Floating offshore wind is crucial to the UK’s net-zero ambitions, offering huge potential to deliver new clean energy, as well as significant new opportunities for jobs and the supply chain. Collaborative working, as we are seeing around the Celtic Sea, provides a mechanism for evolution and innovative thinking, where extremely ambitious projects can work with the onshore and offshore environment and communities to enable low carbon operations.”

Huub den Rooijen, Managing Director of Marine, The Crown Estate said: “As part of our commitment to help unlock potential in the Celtic Sea, we continue to work closely with industry and stakeholders on test and demonstration-scale projects, as well as to develop a leasing opportunity for early commercial-scale projects, while ensuring that we protect our precious marine environment and the interests of other users of the sea. The Crown Estate extends its support to the Celtic Sea Cluster and looks forward to actively working with the Cluster’s board, with national partners, and to create a new market for floating wind and maximise the opportunities for regional and national supply chains.”

Andrew Jamieson, Chief Executive of ORE Catapult, said: “The development of a strong national supply chain is important for the UK to make the most of the floating wind opportunity. Collaboration, enabled by the Cluster, will help grow the region’s supply chain capability, with an aligned aim of kick-starting the sector in the region, facilitating best use of infrastructure, ultimately forging a new market that can mature to accelerate delivery and scale over the coming decades.”

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 begun with a number of project developers starting preliminary planning:

  • Marine project developer Simply Blue Energy has partnered with TotalEnergies to develop the 96MW Erebus project off the south coast of Wales and with Shell to develop the up to 1.3GW 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 arrays, 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.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Non-Executive Director, Steve Jermy said: “Cornwall is already moving at pace growing a very strong offshore renewables supply chain, extending links to other cross-sector specialist capabilities along the Great South West coast, such as autonomy in Plymouth and composites in Bristol.  These will augment the heavy engineering strengths in South Wales, and the Cluster will play a pivotal role in strengthening 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.”

Chair of the Celtic Sea Developers Alliance, Steve Hall, said: The development of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea requires collaboration and strategic development to enable the deployment of sustainable, green energy generation. Working as we are cross borders, both in the Cluster and the Celtic Sea Developers Alliance, we can work to each other’s strengths, identify gaps and seek to maximise strategic benefit to the regions we support. The Cluster’s activities supporting emerging local supply chains will enable the delivery of local content, anchor expertise and drive innovation, which will undoubtedly facilitate accelerated deployment by making the Celtic Sea the easiest place in the UK to develop floating offshore wind.

Cluster members will include developers and supply chain companies with an interest in floating wind in the Celtic Sea.

The Celtic Sea Cluster is free to join through the  new www.CelticSeaCluster.com website that will be launching soon.