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Climate / Offshore wind plan a ‘step closer to reality’ after first project partner named

The Cerulean wind farm would not be connected to the national grid and would not apply for government subsidies, according to the developer.

THE FIRST company which would be involved in plans for a floating wind farm to the west of Shetland has been named.

Developer Cerulean Winds said global firm NOV would provide floating and mooring systems.

It described NOV as one of the largest providers of marine equipment and wind vessel designs in the world.

Earlier this month Cerulean Winds revealed plans to install a total of 200 wind turbines west of Shetland and in the central North Sea, which would power a hydrogen plant at Sullom Voe.

A key focus of the £10bn project – which would not connect to the national grid – would be to power oil platforms using wind energy, assisting the industry towards its goal of becoming net zero in the next couple of decades.

The project would need the relevant licences to go ahead.

Cerulean claim that NOV’s “participation as a delivery partner confirms the viability” of its proposal.

Cerulean Winds is led by Dan Jackson and Mark Dixon, who have more than 25 years’ experience working together on large-scale offshore infrastructure developments in the oil and gas industry.

“We are very pleased to announce NOV’s involvement with the project,” Dixon said.

Mark Dixon (left) and Dan Jackson of Cerulean Winds. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

“As the largest and most qualified provider of marine equipment and wind vessel designs working in this space, the experience and knowledge they will bring to a project of this magnitude is second to none. Having them on board brings the scheme a step closer to reality.

“We have a number of Tier 1 delivery stakeholders signed up. We can’t disclose who they are at this stage, but they are some of the largest providers in the world, with the scale and capacity to deliver and we look forward to making further announcements over the coming months.”

Joe Rovig, president of NOV Rig Technologies, added: “NOV is eager to demonstrate our abilities as one of the key partners and household names in the global energy transition, just as it has been for decades in the traditional oil and gas industry.”

Cerulean continues to say that timing in relation to the possible approval of the project is critical.

It has submitted a formal request to Marine Scotland for seabed leases, and these must be granted by quarter three in 2021 to target financial close in the first quarter of 2022.

It aims to have the infrastructure in place by 2024-26.

To support this, Cerulean is calling on the Scottish and UK governments to make an “exceptional” case to deliver an “extraordinary” outcome for the economy and the environment.

Jackson said if “assets don’t reduce their CO2 emissions by the mid-2020s, increased emissions penalties through carbon taxes will see many North Sea fields become uneconomical and move them towards decommissioning by the end of the decade at the cost of thousands of jobs”.

Cerulean says it has undertaken the necessary infrastructure planning for the scheme to ensure the required level of “project readiness”.

The company is being advised by Société Générale, one of the leading European financial services groups, and Piper Sandler, corporate finance advisors to the energy industry.