A full-scale floating turbine is expected to be deployed at a test site near Belmullet by 2022 as part of the €31 million (£26.6m) AFLOWT project (Accelerating market uptake of Floating Offshore Wind Technology), led by the UK’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).
It is working in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), SAIPEM and other organisations in France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK, to demonstrate the “survivability and cost-competitiveness” of floating offshore wind technology.
By testing it at SEAI’s Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site (AMETS), the technology is to be proven “in the harshest of North West Europe’s offshore environment” and therefore expected to be ready for application at any deepwater offshore environment globally.
The project, funded by Interreg North West Europe, also intends to support the development of an active supply chain in the region, which is said to have some of the strongest wind and ocean resources in the world.
Richard Bruton, Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment said: “Decarbonising our electricity supply will be crucial to becoming a leader in climate change. We are fortunate in Ireland to have such a fantastic wind energy resource. 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. I welcome this project as an excellent opportunity to further explore the potential of offshore wind.”