The Celtic Sea FLOW opportunity is huge. The UK is the world’s leader in offshore renewable energy and it is predicted that by 2030, a third of the UK’s electricity will be generated by offshore wind. It is also a huge export opportunity, with the export market projected to be worth £30 billion over the next decade.
Carbon Trust analysis indicates that optimum depths for floating offshore wind (FLOW) technologies are 100m-250m. This limits large scale deployment in the UK to just two primary sea areas, one being the Celtic Sea.
Preliminary geospatial analysis by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult suggests that the Celtic Sea wind resource could be in excess of 100GW, with 80% of this capacity in Cornish waters.
Furthermore, Cornwall is home to world-leading offshore renewable energy (ORE) companies, Wales to high-quality heavy engineering, and the Great South West to high-quality supply chain capacity.
The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (CIOS LEP), with Marine Energy Wales (MEW), is leading a regional initiative to build-out FLOW in the Celtic Sea, through a roadmap of projects – including plans for the world’s first 500MW FLOW farm – with a target of 1GW Celtic Sea installed capacity and subsidy-free commercial operations by 2030.
In terms of benefits, the OREC supply chain report suggests that direct spend into South West/ South Wales business from FLOW in the Celtic Sea could be in the region of £650m by the early 2030’s.
Moreover, the global market is forecast to reach 100GW by 2050 which means a substantial export market for those businesses maximising first mover advantage in the UK markets.
An agreement signed by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Marine Energy Wales and Marine Renewables Industry Association Ireland will see the groups work together to develop the floating wind potential.
The Celtic Sea Cluster has two key areas of focus:
The Regional Business Plan is being developed during 2020 for publication in January 2021.