Co-hosting an event in the House of Commons on Monday 22nd Nov, the renamed Celtic Sea Developers Alliance and the APPG for the Celtic Sea, intend to showcase the opportunity to parliamentarians for floating wind in the Celtic Sea and review how this region can deliver economic benefit on the road to Net Zero.

Following the commitment in 2019 to work together as the Celtic Sea Alliance to support floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP, Marine Energy Wales and Marine Renewables Industry Association from Ireland and other bodies have been raising the profile of the Celtic Sea region and driving engagement with key stakeholders to succeed in putting the Celtic Sea on the Floating Offshore Wind map.

Launched in Dublin by, the then Welsh Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, the Alliance has seen a successful and productive two years expanding its reach to include over ten floating wind project developers active in the Celtic Sea Region alongside additional organisations such as ORE Catapult, R-UK Cymru, and Wind Energy Ireland.

Increasing attention to the region has seen a UK Crown Estate (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) consultation seeking to understand the sector’s interest in early commercial leases up to 300MW in the region alongside a number of lease awards for Test and Demonstration sites of 100MW already in place.  This culminated this month in the announcement of a planned 4GW of floating wind by 2035, moving from early commercial to full commercial projects.  This programme represents a series of key stepping stones for ports and supply chain to gain confidence, adopt sustainable investment models and upskill in order to capitalise fully on the opportunity.

In Ireland, huge progress is being made in building the policy and legislative infrastructure necessary to enable the development of offshore renewable energy. This was highlighted by the recent publication of the Maritime Area Planning Bill which will provide for an offshore consenting regime.  The next step, commencing with a renewable energy support scheme auction next year, will see the development of wind farms in the Irish Sea. The Celtic Sea should feature in Phase 2 which is envisaged for c.2025 and is likely to provide for Floating Offshore Wind in the Irish sector of the Celtic Sea.

This building momentum has piqued the interest of existing and new Celtic Sea developers who in the UK welcomed The Crown Estate’s commitment to 4GW in the region by 2036 last week, and in Ireland are beginning to shape projects in anticipation of the necessary policy and legislative infrastructure.

With this attention on the region and building support networks, such as the UK focused Celtic Sea Cluster which will focus on supply chain engagement, members of the Alliance have taken the decision to rebrand to the Celtic Sea Developers Alliance to highlight the focus on project developer needs to further drive the requisite progress for the region- Wales, South West England and Ireland.

Following the UK’s Committee on Climate Change’s report highlighting the need for 100GW of offshore wind to meet net zero targets, progressive and decisive action is required. The Celtic Sea region is already home to development activities that could meet 50% of the UK government target of 1GW of Floating Offshore Wind projects by 2030. Equally, the timely opening of the Phase 2 process in the Irish sector should enable Floating Wind projects off the Irish Celtic Sea coast to come on stream around 2030.

With 50GW of realisable capacity identified by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in the Celtic Sea the potential for the region is considerable and with the renewed focus on developer needs the Celtic Sea Developers Alliance will be bringing forward a number of activities to ensure that low carbon energy, innovative new jobs and socio-economic impacts can be realised across the partner regions.

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said, “Bringing together expertise from Wales and Ireland and beyond is vital if we’re going to meet the shared challenges and opportunities from our Irish Sea border including the potential to generate clean energy in the Celtic Sea.

Our commitment to the Wales Ireland relationship was set out in our Shared Statement and Action Plan which includes a priority action to support the ongoing work of the alliance. I’m delighted to support the relaunch of Celtic Sea Developers Alliance and their continued collaboration on such an important global priority.”