A €31m project has been approved for a four-year floating offshore wind turbine to be deployed for testing by 2022 off the west coast of Ireland at a Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) test site near Belmullet, Co. Mayo.
The project is being led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in partnership with SEAI, SAIPEM and other organisations in Ireland, the UK, France, the Netherlands and Germany.
Project funding has been secured from Interreg North West Europe to accelerate the uptake of floating offshore wind, and it will demonstrate the survivability and cost-competitiveness of a floating offshore wind technology. It will also support the development of an active supply chain in the region, which has some of the world’s strongest wind and ocean resources.
Known as AFLOWT (Accelerating market uptake of Floating Offshore Wind Technology) it’s the first project of its kind at such scale to draw on expertise across Europe. Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD said: “Decarbonising our electricity supply will be crucial to becoming a leader in climate change. Almost one third of Ireland’s electricity currently comes from renewables, with wind being the highest contributor. However, we need to step up our ambition in this area and stretch ourselves farther.”
Commenting on the reasoning for choosing offshore wind, Oliver Wragg, Commercial Director at EMEC said: “We have developed a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can now be transferred to the testing and demonstration of floating offshore wind to help it make the most cost effective and rapid transition to commercialisation.”
Jim Gannon, Chief Executive of SEAI said: “There are many significant steps to be taken to deliver this ambitious project…..which will show Ireland’s strengths, in terms of its significant wind resources, and also as a responsive, innovative and agile country.”