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Celtic Sea Demonstration Floating Wind Project Gets Welsh Approval

approval for Wales floating wind Celtic Sea
Erebus expects to be a demonstration and one of the largest floating wind projects at this stage (Blue Gem Wind)

Published Mar 13, 2023 7:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

Plans for the first floating wind farm in the Celtic Sea cleared key hurdles with permissions from the Welsh government. The project is viewed as a demonstration that would help to unlock the potential for offshore wind power generation in the region and play a critical step in the UK’s target of over 100 GW of power from offshore resources.

The Erebus project is being jointly developed by TotalEnergies and the Simply Blue Group. Planning began in 2019 when they first identified the location. They point to the potential for wind power generation in the Celtic Sea citing independent studies that report there are 150 to 250 GW of wind resources in the region. They believe that 50 GW is an attainable target for the Celtic Sea.

“The Erebus project has the potential to show the world that Wales and the Celtic Sea can deliver renewable energy alongside the sustainable management of our marine resources,” said First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Mark Drakeford. “In determining the marine license and the planning consents, the Welsh Government and our partners in Natural Resources Wales have enabled this project to move forward to apply for subsidy support from the UK Government.”

Welsh Ministers have granted consent with planning permission for the Erebus project to proceed. This comes weeks after the project secured its marine license from Wales. The license was granted after a comprehensive environmental impact assessment process was completed and the planning permission marked a key step forward for the project. The project still needs to complete contracts with the UK government.

“We welcome the decision from Welsh Ministers to grant the necessary planning consents for project Erebus and have been working with Planning and Environment Decisions Wales and other key stakeholders since 2019 to develop a project that is sympathetic to the natural environment and minimizes impacts to local communities and stakeholders,” said Mike Scott, Project Managing Director at Blue Gem Wind.

Erebus would be located nearly 25 miles off the Southwest coast of Pembrokeshire between the Bristol and St. George’s channels. The challenge for the area is that it will encounter depths of up to approximately 250 feet.  

They expect when completed it will be among the largest floating offshore wind projects in the world. The group is working with Principle Power on the development of the floating platforms. They anticipate that the demonstration project would have between seven and ten platforms each with a 14 MW turbine. 

The plan calls for starting construction in January 2025 and having the project operational by December 2026. In the first phase, they would have a capacity of 100 MW and they look at this as a steppingstone toward the goal of 4 GW of offshore wind power from the Celtic Sea.