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AN agreement has been reached between Shell and Simply Blue Group to develop a 1.35GW floating wind farm off the coast of West Clare

It is part of a new development which is to be situated at least 35km off the coast of Kilkee. The floating technology proposed will allow the turbines to be located in waters over 100m deep. It is a separate project to ESB’s plans for a Green Atlantic hub at Moneypoint.

Shell have acquired a 51 percent share in Simply Blue Group’s Western Star Venture which both companies have said has the potential to create hundreds of “high-quality jobs” in the local supply chain during the assembly, installation and deployment of the wind turbines.

However the project office will be based at the headquarters of Simply Blue Group in Cork. Personnel from the blue economy developer and Shell floating wind experts are to deliver the Western Star Joint Venture. Long-term operations and maintenance of the turbines will also require local skills and services to support this industry.

Both companies reached a similar agreement earlier this year to jointly develop the Emerald floating wind project off the coast of Cork. Simply Blue Group has a pipeline of over 9 GW of floating offshore wind projects, primarily in the waters off Ireland and the UK.

As part of the Western Star Joint Venture, 1,145,000 Irish homes can be powered, the project is targeting an energy output of 1.35GW in total, 300MW-450MW in the first phase with 700MW-900MW to follow. Phase one is likely to include between 15MW and 18MW turbines.

Clare and the west coast of Ireland has “tremendous wind potential,” Hugh Kelly, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Director, Simply Blue Group stated. “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,” he added.

The Clare Echo understands that Clare County Council have already held a brief meeting with the project team behind the floating wind farm regarding the planning process.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) heightened the importance of the area playing its part in making Ireland a carbon neutral country. “We have known for many years the capacity for off shore wind here in Clare to deliver significant amount of the renewable energy requirements for Ireland to become a carbon neutral country. It’s very positive news after the recent disappointment of Equinor and the ESB project”.

Elected representatives in the West Clare Municipal District will insist on the project team committing “to proper and in depth communication with the local communities and the delivery of sustainable long term employment for us here in West Clare,” Murphy said.

“Offshore wind is the Klondike of the modern energy era, it is vital that elected representatives, at local and national level, and Clare County Council senior management team, do their damnedest to ensure the maximum benefit from this opportunity is captured by the local communities here in Clare,” the Cathaoirleach of the West Clare MD added.

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