Simply Blue Energy, a pioneering Celtic Sea energy developer, and Total, one of the world’s largest energy companies, have established a partnership to develop floating wind projects in the Welsh waters of the Celtic Sea.

The first development will be Erebus, a 96MW demonstration project at water depths of 70m, for which an application has already been submitted to the Crown Estate. The intention is that the project will be developed to use Principle Power’s Windfloat® technology, one of the most advanced floating technologies worldwide.

This new partnership between Total and Simply Blue Energy opens a new chapter in the development of renewable energy in the UK. Developing the potential of the Celtic Sea will make a positive contribution to the UK’s target of reaching Net-Zero by 2050, whilst offering exciting new opportunities for industry in areas such as Wales and Cornwall. Simply Blue Energy has established an office in Pembroke to work with the local supply chain on the opportunities created by this project.

In a recent report, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult has advised that there could be as much as 50GW of electricity capacity available in the Celtic Sea in Irish and UK waters. This is a significant amount of capacity given that the Committee on Climate Change suggests the UK will need at least 75GW of operating offshore wind capacity to reach the net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target by 2050. It is estimated by the Catapult that the first GW in the Celtic Sea, could potentially deliver 3,000 jobs and £682m in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall over the next ten years.

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman & CEO of Total said, “With its entry into floating offshore wind, Total confirms its ambition to contribute to the development of renewable energy worldwide. Floating offshore wind is an extremely promising and technical segment where Total brings its extensive expertise in offshore operations & maintenance. Total has the appropriate skills to meet the technological and financial requirements that determine the success of future floating offshore developments”.

Sam Roch-Perks, Managing Director of Simply Blue Energy said, “We are delighted to have signed the agreement with Total. Together we will progress the first stepping-stone projects that will allow the local supply chain to build up their capabilities to help deliver the larger projects that will be developed for the 2030s. It is like being in Aberdeen in the 1960s except from Pembroke we look out onto a sea that can deliver wind energy, helping the UK reach its 2050 Net-Zero target”.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “With support from the UK Government the offshore wind sector has flourished, creating thousands of jobs in low-carbon industries and their supply chains. The development of a floating offshore wind project in Welsh waters would bring investment into the west of Wales and generate hundreds of high-quality jobs. Companies across the country involved in the development could play an integral role in accelerating the shift to clean growth and help us to reach our aim of net-zero emissions by 2050.”

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I’m very pleased to be able to welcome this announcement by Total and Simply Blue Energy – and am very happy to be able to welcome Total’s new investment to Wales, as they look to take part in this potentially far-reaching partnership within the floating offshore wind sector.

“The Erebus project represents not only a huge step towards our ambitious climate goals here in Wales, as we look to tackle the impact of climate change, but will also represent a huge low-carbon inward investment into Wales, as we move towards a stronger green economy and provide new supply chain opportunities to businesses within the Region. Projects such as these will form the backbone of a prosperous low carbon economy, and will be powered by Welsh ingenuity and innovation.”

“I’m also pleased to note that the Erebus project will see strong connections with the Pembroke Dock Marine (PDM) project – which will see £60m in investment brought to south-west Wales and help boost the capacities and capabilities of Welsh companies in the marine and green energy sectors.”

“This is just one strand in our strategy in the fight against climate change, but projects such as these – which make use of cutting-edge renewable energy technologies and help build our capacity in the move to an energy system with a high level of renewables – are very welcome, and I thank all those involved for their work in ensuring this partnership can start on its all-important work.”

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (CIOS LEP) said, “We are delighted that Simply Blue Energy, who’s UK office is in the CIOS LEP Enterprise Zone at Newquay, have reached this agreement with Total to work together to develop floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea. The LEP has, for 18 months now, been leading the initiative to secure floating offshore wind deployment in the region, and the commitment of a major multi-national such as Total provides clear evidence of both the reality of this new market and of the possibilities for both jobs and economic development”.

Marine Energy Wales