Shell Buys Majority Stake in Floating Offshore Wind Farm

Courtesy Emerald Project

Published Jan 27, 2021 8:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

Oil major Shell has purchased a majority stake in Simply Blue Energy's Emerald Project, a floating wind farm in the Celtic Sea off the south coast of Ireland. It is the latest in a string of new offshore wind ventures for European oil majors, which are all looking to apply their existing offshore engineering and project management capabilities to new revenue opportunities.

“At Shell we aim to build an integrated power business spanning electricity generation, trading and supply. This project could provide green power to consumers and businesses alike and contribute towards Shell’s ambition to be a net-zero emissions business by 2050, or sooner," said Colin Crooks, the VP of offshore wind at Shell. "Working alongside coastal communities to create shared value is key to success and this is why we have chosen and look forward to working with Simply Blue Energy who are rooted in the local community.”

Chart courtesy Simply Blue

The Emerald Project will be built about 20 nm offshore, taking advantage of the higher winds found further off the coast by using anchored floating platforms in deep water. Commercial bottom-fixed wind farms are limited to areas with depths of less than 200 feet, and floating technology - while expensive - is key to harnessing the full potential of the world's offshore wind resources. 

Emerald will start with an initial 15-25 turbine, 300 megawatt floating array, with plans to scale up to one gigawatt over an eight to ten-year period.

Simply Blue's technology partner is Principle Power, a California-based company that has installed five floating turbines to date. The two companies are also working with French oil major Total on the Erebus floating power project off the coast of Wales, just on the other side of the Celtic Sea from Shell's Emerald Project.