Offshore wind market leaders Ørsted today took an 80% stake in the 100 MW Salamander floating turbine project off Aberdeen, entering its supervising joint venture with Dublin-headquartered marine energy developers Simply Blue Group. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Ørsted is Simply Blue’s newest partner in the venture, alongside engineers Subsea 7.
Unbuilt as yet, the Salamander project is intended to be progressed through the innovation track of Crown Estate Scotland’s forthcoming Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round later this year.
The consortium partners see it as a stepping-stone, designed to provide Scotland’s fabricators and suppliers with confidence to develop output capacity, before 24.8GW of ScotWind awards are due to be built.
The project promises cutting-edge technologies, on its “learning journey” to secure cost reductions in progressing commercial deployment of floating turbines.
Floating wind foundations are used in deep waters where fixed foundations are no longer economically feasible. Industry sources say 80% of Europe’s wind resource is in waters at least 60 metres deep. After 15 years of conventionally rooted offshore developments, seabed space for fixed foundations is becoming scarcer.
Scotland is pioneering floating offshore structures. Hywind Scotland was the world’s first floating array. Kincardine Offshore Phases 1 and 2 have brought the nation’s floating offshore capacity to 80MW.
Crown Estate Scotland and Marine Scotland expect to launch the INTOG leasing round in June. INTOG will grant seabed leases, through auctions split into two pots; one for innovation projects of less than 100 MW, the second for larger projects linked to pumping oil and gas. Exclusivity agreements for winning projects are expected to be awarded in this autumn, with option agreements signed twelve months later.
Last August Simply Blue and Seabed7 welcomed engineers ERM to the Salamander party. ERM’s proprietary Dolphyn technology links electrolysis, desalination and hydrogen-making within a single module on a floating wind platform. No carbon emissions result from the system, described as ”economic and scalable”.
Simply Blue Group is developing other projects with energy operators around Ireland and in Wales.
Its CEO Sam Roch-Perks was ‘delighted’ today’s deal had been done. “As a leading floating wind developer”, he said, “Simply Blue Group wants to contribute to the development of the Scottish offshore wind market and its supply chain.
“Scotland is one of the best locations on the planet for the development of floating wind projects and we look forward to the collaboration with Ørsted on this important project”.
Ørsted’s chief commercial officer Martin Neubert returned the compliment: ‘I’m pleased that we have agreed with Simply Blue to become a partner on this promising project which further expands Ørsted’s engagement in floating offshore wind and will provide a lot of learnings that we can apply on ScotWind and other floating wind projects as the technology transitions from demo projects to utility-scale.
The Danes’ head of UK business Duncan Clark added: ‘Floating offshore wind, is a developing technology (with) an exciting future in Scotland.
“Salamander will support the cost reduction and learning journey that will underpin the commercial deployment of floating offshore wind, while developing the infrastructure, supply chain, jobs, and skills to that will help Scotland cement its place as a world leader in floating offshore wind as the industry grows in the coming decades.’