The Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation and Sinbad Marine Services have proposed a floating wind farm to be built more than 50 kilometres offshore Donegal, Ireland, and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Swedish floating wind developer and technology provider, Hexicon, to bring the project to realisation.
The partners plan to submit an application for Phase Two Marine Area Consent (MAC) under the new Marine Area Planning Act in Ireland and intend to use part of the energy generated by the floating wind farm – which is planned to have a capacity of up to 2 GW – to produce green fuels such as hydrogen or ammonia.
The green fuels could be used to power the fishing fleet whilst also contributing to energy security for the port and local community, an initiative that will require some 6,400 tonnes of hydrogen annually.
The remainder of the energy produced by the floating wind farm would be connected to the national grid and contribute to Ireland’s target of 5 GW from offshore energy by 2030.
First Time ‘Fundamentally Opposed’ Sectors Collaborate on an Offshore Wind Project
The partnership says that it is predicated on a ‘new approach’ which sees local fishermen engaged and influencing the development process from the onset.
“This is the first time in offshore wind that key players from several fundamentally-opposed sectors have come together to collaborate on a project with a common objective”, the three parties stated in their joint press release from 26 June.
Key decisions, including site selection, cable routing and landfall, will be collectively analysed and agreed. Similarly, other stakeholders, including environmental organisations will also be given input at an early stage in shaping the location and design of the floating wind farm.
The port operator and marine service provider, Sinbad Marine, will ensure the floating offshore wind project maximises its engagement with local industry and leverages local infrastructure, the new partners said.
The focus of the Memorandum of Understanding with Hexicon is for the parties involved to cooperate and agree on solutions which are mutually beneficial for the development of a wind farm which does not negatively impact the fishing industry nor the marine environment, while contributing to the transformation of local and global energy supply chains, according to the new partners.
“We at the KFO, weren’t interested in being presented with a fait accompli nor lines drawn on maps by any prospective developer. In signing this MoU, we have guaranteed that we will be at the centre of a project which has the potential to be an economically-transformative”, said Seán O’Donoghue, CEO of the KFO.
“Offshore wind is coming and with the KFO seeking out a ‘new approach’ to partnering with a suitable developer, we have put ourselves in pole position to harness a historic opportunity for the North West”.
Hexicon has its own patented technology – TwinWind – which consists of a floating foundation with two turbines. The twin-turbine design is said to enable more turbines per sea area, which increases the energy yield and reduces the environmental impact.
However, the company and its partners in Ireland did not specify which technology would be used for their project off Donegal.