Energy giant Shell announced today an agreement with ocean energy-focused developer Simply Blue Group to acquire a 51% share of their Western Star venture, which plans to develop a floating wind farm off the Clare coast in Ireland.

The new project aims to harness the floating wind potential in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Ireland. The project will be developed by Simply Blue Group personnel and Shell floating wind experts in two phases: 300MW-450MW in the first phase with 700MW-900MW to follow, reaching the total of 1.35 GW, equivalent to powering over 1.1 million Irish homes.

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Hessel de Jong, Offshore Wind General Manager Europe, Shell, said:

 “Shell has a clear ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society. We aim to provide more renewable power to consumers and businesses alike. Working alongside coastal communities to create shared value is key to success for both the Western Star floating wind project and the previously announced Emerald project, which is why we have chosen to work with Simply Blue Group.”

Floating wind technology can be installed in deeper waters than fixed wind turbines, allowing the project to be installed 35-60 km offshore. By locating the turbines far offshore, the visual impact of the wind farm for coastal communities is reduced, placing them in an area of higher wind energy potential. The project will also help reduce the country’s dependence on foreign fossil fuel imports, which currently represents a large portion of its current electricity production.

Hugh Kelly, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Director, Simply Blue Group, said:

“There is tremendous wind potential off the West Coast of Ireland and Simply Blue Group are delighted to partner once again with Shell to jointly develop the Western Star project. 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. Simply Blue Group are committed to developing floating offshore wind projects in Ireland.”