The floating offshore wind industry in the Celtic Sea could support 3,200 jobs in South West England and Wales by 2030, according to a report by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.
The Benefits of Floating Offshore Wind to Wales and the South West report examines how to maximize the economic opportunity of floating offshore wind projects.
Commissioned by the Welsh Government and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the report models the development of four separate floating wind sites in the mid to late 2020s, with two off the Cornwall coast and two off the coast of West Wales.
The first, in 2023/24, would be a four-turbine 32MW project using the repurposed Wave Hub test site 16km off the north coast of Cornwall, which is currently seeking a revised consent for floating wind.
This would be followed in 2025/26 by a 90MW scheme in the Pembrokeshire Development Zone, 15km from the Welsh coast, using nine turbines.
A 300MW 12-turbine project could follow in 2027/28, some 40km off the south coast of Pembrokeshire, and a 500MW, 33-turbine project, could be built 60km west of Cornwall by the end of the decade. This assumes that 15MW turbines will be available in the next 10 years.
“For 18 months we have been leading an initiative to secure floating offshore wind deployments in the Celtic Sea, building on our area’s maritime and offshore renewable energy expertise,” said Glenn Caplin, Chief Executive of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP.
“The Celtic Sea is one of only two UK locations where floating offshore wind turbines will be deployed at scale, the other being Scotland.”
According to ORE Catapult, the combined spend in the regional supply chain if all four projects went ahead could be GBP 682 million.
That spend could increase to GBP 1.24 billion if there is further investment in manufacturing facilities for mooring chains and cables, and port infrastructure to enable turbine substructure fabrication locally, rather than final assembly only.
The report notes that the four zones are presented as one possibility of high potential areas for future offshore wind development and have not been endorsed by The Crown Estate.