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Shell takes stake in Clare off shore wind farm project

SHELL has signed an agreement with Irish leading blue economy developer Simply Blue Group to acquire a 51% share of their Western Star venture, which seeks to develop a floating wind farm off the Clare coast. The Western Star Joint Venture will be developed by Simply Blue Group personnel and Shell floating wind experts, with the project office based at Simply Blue Group Headquarters in Cork. The project aims to harness the vast floating wind potential in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Ireland. The joint venture will seek to co-develop up to 1.35GW in total: 300MW-450MW in the first phase with 700MW-900MW to follow. This is equivalent to powering over one million Irish homes. 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 …

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Action urged to save offshore windfarm

THE ESB and the government are being urged to seek another investment partner for the proposed €2 billion windfarm off the Clare coast following the “devastating” withdrawal of Norwegian firm Equinor. Equinor has pulled out of the Irish market, having previously reached an agreement with the ESB to develop a major 1.4GW wind farm using floating technology off the West Clare coast. Council chairman, Councillor PJ Ryan called on the government to introduce a streamlined simple planning process and remove any obstacles concerning connection to the national grid to get the vital project back on track. Councillor Ryan said given the emphasis on tackling climate change the government should prioritise the necessary regulations to ensure this project was “shovel ready” to proceed. Clare Dáil TDs Cathal Crowe and Violet-Anne Wynne have expressed different views on the impact of this setback for a major element of Moneypoint’s €5 billion Green Atlantic initiative. Deputy Wynne believes the future of the offshore windfarm …

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Sean Hegarty

Sea giants to power the future

Turbines up to 300 metres high on massive floating platforms will be developed by ESB with experienced partners, reports Dan Danaher A NEW floating offshore windfarm of 1,400 megawatts will be developed off the coast of Clare and Kerry in two phases by ESB and joint venture partners, Equinor, a world leader in floating offshore wind technology. Once complete, the windfarm will be capable of powering more than 1.6 million homes in Ireland. Subject to the appropriate consents being granted, it is expected to be in production within the next decade. In an interview with the Clare Champion, Moneypoint station manager, Sean Hegarty said it is envisaged the new turbines will be constructed on an enormous floating concrete base weighing up to 15,000 tonnes, with the turbine built on a corner of the triangular structure. While the turbines in Peterhead off the UK coast, developed by ESB’s partners Equinor have a different base structure, he confirmed that, above the water, …

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Green Atlantic windfarm will create up to 600 new jobs

BETWEEN 50 and 100 jobs will be created to provide a new €50 million Synchronous Compensator in Moneypoint Power Station as part of the ESB’s exciting new €5 billion Green Atlantic development, reports Dan Danaher. This Synchronous Compensator, which will be the largest of its kind in the world, will provide a range of electrical services to the electricity grid, which would previously have been supplied by thermal-fired power stations. Its operation will enable higher volumes of renewables on the system. While Moneypoint plant manager, Sean Hegarty was unable this week to provide an exact number of new jobs in advance of signing this major new work contract for the site, he estimates a major construction of this scale usually requires between 50 and 100 people. It is estimated the construction of the new offshore windfarm will create up to 600 new jobs, pending planning approval. This new Synchronous Compensator will be sub contracted to a major manufacturer who may …

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Consultation begins on proposed South East Clare windfarm

PRE-PLANNING consultation has begun in South East Clare as a German renewable energy company prepares to lodge an application for an eight-turbine windfarm, early next year. RWE Renewables Ireland Limited (RWE), which describes itself as one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, launched an eight-week pre-planning consultation exercise at the start of this month. It says that feedback received from residents and stakeholders – whom it aims to meet virtually while Level 5 restrictions continue – will inform the design of the windfarm, proposed for a 320-hectare site 6km south west of Killaloe and 1.5km north of Bridgetown. As a mandatory element of windfarm projects, RWE will administer a community fund in the event of securing planning permission from Clare County Council, a figure which could range from €168,000 to €288,000 per annum for 15 years. A brochure on the project also outlines the potential for community shared ownership. It details the creation of up to 70 jobs during …

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New Moneypoint offshore wind energy plan will power 1.5 million homes

THE FUTURE viability of Moneypoint Power Station has been thrown a much needed lifeline under a new proposed offshore wind development project, which has the potential to generate enough energy to power up 1.5 million homes reports Dan Danaher. Under a new public private partnership between the ESB and Equinor, a new multi-million Euro project concerning a 270 km2 flaghship floating offshore wind development is being planned off the coast of Clare and Kerry. Details of the new plan are due to be announced by the ESB under Ireland’s long-term decarbonisation strategy this Friday. The Clare Champion has learned the ESB and Equinor submitted a Foreshore License application to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in January, and a lot of preliminary work has already been undertaken preparing the groundwork for a new planning application. In addition to revitalising Moneypoint Power Station, this project would provide a commercial rates windfall for Clare County Council, pending planning approval. This …

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Windfarm developer cites long term gains for climate and communities

THE development of onshore windfarms is critical for Ireland’s transition to a low carbon society, according to Pádraig Howard of Mid Clare Renewable Energy, and his company’s proposed new development at Cahermurphy would be fully in compliance with new draft national guidelines. The so-called Cahermurphy II project has attracted a number of local objections and is currently with Clare County Council planners. Mr Howard met with the Clare Champion at the site of the first Cahermurphy windfarm on Tuesday, and was actually interviewed while standing at the top of a stairwell on a turbine. While there have been concerns raised about the potential for noise from the proposed new windfarm, it was possible to have a conversation of almost 30 minutes without raising voices, while actually on the turbine. On the day the wind speed was around 8.5 metres per second, and while this wouldn’t be exceptionally quick, Mr Howard said that the turbines were close to their most audible, …

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Huge number of objections to West Clare windfarm

DOZENS of objections have now been lodged with Clare County Council against the development of a windfarm at Cahermurphy and nearby townlands, close to Kilmihil. While the application from MCRE Windfarm Limited claimed that there are positive relationships with people in the area, many of the local residents are against the proposal and a large number of strongly worded objections have been lodged with the local authority. Among them is one from the Cahermurphy Wind Farm Phase II Opposition Group which claims there has been little consultation from the company with locals. “This application has been rushed into the Council with little to no public consultation, during a pandemic. There are many locals who have none or very little knowledge of this proposed industrial development,” it said in a submission to the county council. “As we needed hand signatures to validate this letter and our request, the collected signatures are the result of a limited round trip on October 21, …

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