Floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea
Floating offshore wind (FLOW) is amongst the quickest growing renewable energy technology in the world, with a potential market at least twice the size of fixed bottom offshore wind and there are, as yet, no world leaders
Carbon Trust analysis indicates that optimum depths for FLOW technologies are 100m-250m, which limits large scale deployment in Britain to just two primary sea areas, one being the Celtic Sea.
Preliminary geospatial analysis suggests that the Celtic Sea wind resource could be in excess of 100GW. Furthermore, Cornwall is home to world-leading offshore renewable energy (ORE) companies, Wales to high-quality heavy engineering, and the Great South West to high-quality supply chain capacity.
The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (CIOS LEP), with Marine Energy Wales (MEW), is leading a regional initiative to build-out FLOW in the Celtic Sea, through a roadmap of projects – including the world’s first 500MW FLOW farm – with a target of 1GW Celtic Sea installed capacity and subsidy-free commercial operations by 2030.
Led by CIOS LEP, the recently formed Celtic Sea Alliance is working toward two key strategic objectives…
- Innovation Revenue Support – IOS LEP has secured Ministerial Endorsement for an outline strategy to build-out FLOW in the Celtic Sea, including through using suitable revenue support mechanisms, such as an Innovation CfD
- Project Pipeline – a pipeline of projects is in development…
- Wave Hub site in Cornwall with capacity for 30MW from early-2020
- Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone with capacity for 150MW from end-2023
- Discussions are underway with The Crown Estate for two Celtic Sea projects, of 300MW and 500MW, from mid-2020s onwards
The regions adjoining the Celtic Sea nations have significant industrial capacity…
- Cornwall – is home to world-leading ORE companies, operating in the offshore oil & gas, offshore wind, wave & tidal sectors, together with leading ORE universities and test & evaluation (T&E) institutions
- Wales – is home to high quality heavy engineering and supply chain companies, together with a quickly growing ORE sector, including leading ORE universities and T&E institutions
- Great South West – is home to key supply chain companies, including those operating in composites and cables and to leading ORE universities
There is very strong regional support for the FLOW initiative, evidenced through: first, the recent formation of the Celtic Sea Alliance, a political grouping of Cornwall, Wales and Ireland; second, the soon-to-be-announced Celtic Sea Cluster, an offshore wind industrial cluster created as an outcome of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal.
Finance & Investment
As poorer regions, Cornwall and Wales have access to ERDF and regional investment, recent examples of which are…
- Cornwall – will start in early-2020 a £6.4M Accelerating Floating Offshore Wind in Cornwall ERDF project, which will include outline design work on 300MW
- 500WM Celtic Sea projects is seeking to secure central government Strength-In-Places-Funding for £64.0M starting in mid-2021 to enhance regional EPCI capability
- Wales – will start in early-2020 to develop the £4.2M Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone project to provide a pre-consented FLOW site by end-2023, with capacity for 90MW-120MW
The Celtic Sea Cluster nations additionally have access to more general public sector investment vehicles, of which the £40M Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund is just one example.
Strong political and public support
With Climate Change Emergency announcements in Cornwall and Wales, there is a strong political and public support for renewable energy investment and for the economic development, job creation and export opportunities that a world-leading FLOW position would confer.
Celtic Sea Cluster