Consent for a floating offshore wind farm has been granted off the Pembrokeshire coast, which will eventually provide enough power for four million homes, the Welsh government has said.
Seven 14-megawatt turbines will be built on floating platforms 40km out to sea and will provide enough clean energy to power 93,000 homes.
They are part of a development that could in future see as much as 20 gigawatts of electricity being produced in the Celtic Sea.
The Climate Change Committee, which advises the Government on decarbonisation, said offshore wind should form the bulk of Britain’s electricity production by 2035.
Labour MP for Aberavon Stephen Kinnock told the House of Commons earlier this month that floating offshore wind could be a ‘genuine game-changer’ for South Wales and that it could turn the region into a ‘green power superpower’.
MPs from Labour and the Conservatives also urged the Government to ensure that new turbines are made by UK-based companies.
Known as project Erebus, the new turbines will be erected by Blue Gem Wind, a joint venture between French multinational TotalEnergies and Irish ocean developers Simply Blue Group.
Construction is set to begin in January 2025 with the turbines in operation by the end of 2026.
‘We are ambitious for the floating offshore wind sector in Wales – we believe it has the potential to deliver sustainable sources of energy into the future and it is also a once-in-a-generation opportunity to open up new markets for local suppliers and to create thousands of high-quality jobs in Wales,’ said First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford.
‘The Erebus project has the potential to show the world that Wales and the Celtic Sea can deliver renewable energy alongside the sustainable management of our marine resources.’
The floating platforms use the same turbines as conventional offshore wind farms but they are attached to floating structures secured to the seabed with anchors.
This means they can be built further out in deeper waters where the wind is stronger.
‘It is very welcome news that Pembrokeshire could be home to Wales’ first floating offshore wind farm,’ said Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire and Welsh Affairs Committee chair.
‘It could be transformative to the local economy and supply chains, supporting many jobs and livelihoods to a predominantly rural area,’
Project Erebus was named after the famous ship, which was built at Pembroke Dock in 1826 and disappeared 22 years later with its sister ship Terror and all their crew in the Arctic while searching for the Northwest Passage.
‘The UK’s early subsidies are already paying off as we have one of the most established offshore wind industries in the world, part of the UK’s £70 billion net-zero economy,’ said Jess Ralston, head of energy at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.
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