Ennis Chamber was delighted to host a delegation from Cork headquartered Simply Blue Group and energy company Shell on Thursday, November 18. The meeting was arranged to coincide with the announcement that Shell is to buy a 51 per cent stake in Simply Blue’s ‘Western Star’ venture, which seeks to build a floating wind farm 35kms off Loop Head.
The-strong delegation party from Ennis Chamber met with with Hugh Kelly, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Director of Simply Blue Group, Dr Val Cummins, Director of Simply Blue Group and Shell Commercial Manager of offshore wind, Gordon Shearer.
The visiting delegation was formally welcomed to Ennis Chamber by Ennis Chamber President, Darragh McAllister and Ennis Chamber CEO, Margaret O’Brien.
Darragh McAllister commented, “It is fantastic to see Irish company Simply Blue Group lead out on the development offshore floating renewable energy in the West of Ireland. We are all aware of the targets we need to achieve with regards to the generation of renewable energy. We have an infinite amount of wind that can be harnessed offshore to help us satisfy or future energy needs. We need to ensure that businesses like Simply Blue Group are supported to make their plans become reality in a timely fashion.”
The project is targeting up to 1.35 gigawatt (GW) of energy, enough to power more than 1.1 million Irish homes, with 300-450 megawatt (MW) expected in the first phase.
The Western Star Project will be located some 35km off Loop Head, in a location where the proposed technology will allow turbines to be located in waters over 100m deep.
Co-founder and Chief Commercial Director of Simply Blue Group, Hugh Kelly, said, “This 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.
“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. Simply Blue Group are committed to developing floating offshore wind projects in Ireland.”
He explained “floating wind technology can be installed in deeper waters than fixed wind turbines allowing this project to be placed 35km – 60km offshore, keeping visual impact to a minimum. The first phase of the project could include between 15MW and 18MW turbines. The assembly, installation and deployment of these 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.”
Gordon Shearer, Shell Commercial Manager of Offshore Wind said, “Shell has a clear ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society, with an aim to provide more renewable power to consumers and businesses alike.
Working alongside coastal communities to create shared value is key to success for the Western Star floating wind project.
A lively and engaged discussion and Q and A followed the official welcome.