The project, Malin Sea Wind, sees the energy utility partner with Dublin Offshore and Catagen to developer lower-cost offshore renewables.
The ESB, in collaboration with Catagen and Dublin Offshore, have secured rights to develop a 100MW floating wind farm in Scottish waters off the coast of Northern Ireland. Malin Sea Wind is one of 13 projects announced today (24 March) by Crown Estate Scotland.
The project will use Dublin Offshore’s patented load-reduction technology which the ESB claims “will support the reduction of floating offshore wind costs”.
In a statement, the ESB said the project will also “support decarbonisation of the aviation sector by powering sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production technology, currently under development by net-zero technology specialists, Catagen”.
The Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) seabed leasing process, run by Crown Estate Scotland, was announced in February 2022 with the aim of developing “offshore wind projects specifically for the purpose of providing low-carbon electricity to power oil and gas stations”. Alongside this aim, “small-scale innovation projects of less than 100MW” were also welcomed.
A spokesperson for the ESB explained that Malin Sea Wind is an innovation project and “will not supply energy to oil and gas installations”.
The ESB is currently considering the options for using energy supplied by the wind farm.
“We are evaluating a number of offtake options,” with a potential scenario seeing the generated energy supplied to “the transmission system in Northern Ireland and the production of e-fuel for the SAF market (also in Northern Ireland)”.
This is still an early stage in the process as the project team will complete “key environmental and technical analysis” over the coming months.
The INTOG must deliver a Sectoral Marine Plan now that they have announced the chosen projects to go ahead. As part of this, they will compete a sustainability appraisal. This is due in the winter of 2023-24.
The ESB said they expect to enter a lease option and begin “geophysical and geotechnical survey campaigns” after the publication of the Sectoral Marine Plan.
The leasing option fee for the project is £3.1m with future rent payments due when the project moves to operation, with the funds going to the Scottish government.
The total area of seabed covered by innovation projects including Marine Sea Wind is 139km2.
Paul Lennon, head of offshore wind and hydrogen at ESB, welcomed today’s announcement: “Floating offshore wind has the potential to revolutionise our energy landscape and overcoming the technological challenges will be key to unlocking that potential.
“Malin Sea Wind represents an important stepping-stone towards commercial-scale deployment of floating wind and the development of new routes to market for renewable energy. ESB is excited to collaborate with our technology partners on this pioneering project as we continue on our journey to net zero”.
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