The Celtic Sea has been earmarked as a promising area in which to develop floating offshore capacity. Recently announced new UK and Irish floating wind developments include the 98MW Erebus project, 300MW Valorous project, the >1GW Emerald project, and the FLOW/Wave hybrid proposal with Western star wind off Ireland’s West Coast at >1.1GW. 2021 saw the launch of the Crown Estate England floating wind test and demonstration projects in the Celtic Sea (3 x 100MW) along with a commitment to a future pre-commercial leasing round.
Wave Hub in Cornwall has also re-licensed, in 2020, for the demonstration of a 32MW floating wind installation whilst the Pembrokeshire demonstration zone is also looking to re-license as a possible large scale Offshore aggregated grid connection point to minimize the impact of multiple individual project cable landfalls. The Celtic Sea is a complex policy arena. Realising floating wind energy potential will necessitate international cooperation and coordinated multi-level governance. Government cooperation and coordination are hampered by institutional inertia, path dependent decision-making, misalignment between national level policies and regional marine plans, and a lack of coordination across government agencies. Strategic planning offers an opportunity to maximize the efficient and sustainable use of the increasingly pressured marine space.
The case study focuses on the Celtic Sea area. This encompasses areas under Irish, English and French jurisdictions. Thematic areas of the case study focus on floating wind governance and marine spatial planning. The PERMAGOV case study will contribute to the realisation of EU Green Deal renewable energy targets. Working with key stakeholders and end-users, PERMAGOV will (1) develop an in-depth understanding of institutional barriers and how these are affected by transboundary and BREXIT arrangements, (2) assess how key barriers can be addressed through the development of collaborative planning and e-governance approaches; and (3) develop policy and best-practice advice as to how floating wind deployment can be accelerated in the area to meet EU Green Deal targets.
The underlying proposition is that existing marine policy and management mechanisms are slow to adapt to new technologies (for example floating wind) and that the governance regime is a major barrier to achieving Green Deal ambitions. This proposition is based on the fact that marine plans in England make no provision for floating wind and floating wind developers have pulled out of major projects in Ireland due to governance complexities.
Which institutional barriers are embedded within the offshore energy and marine spatial planning policy?
How do these barriers impact policy implementation in terms of scaling up floating wind deployment and therefore the potential achievement of the EU’s Green Deal objectives?
How do current governance arrangements facilitate or impede floating wind deployment?
How has e-governance been used within the floating wind sector and what potential use does it have in resolving governance issues?
Which digital tools and e-governance interventions do floating-wind actors and coalitions use in policy-related practices, and how do stakeholders asses these tools’ performance in terms of ability to deliver on EU Green Deal objectives?
What are the key institutional challenges to tackle and key institutional opportunities to build on for scaling up the deployment of floating wind?
What are the just and actionable pathways towards the sustainable deployment of floating wind? And what are the promising e-governance solutions that can support this transition?
Which PERMAGOV results resonate with those interested in floating wind, renewable energy, or marine spatial planning?
Case Study 5 is managed by Queen’s University Belfast in cooperation with Celtic Sea Power (CSP), an end-user in PERMAGOV. CSP’s interest in the case study is underpinned by their desire to realise the area's floating wind energy potential. CSP recognise that realising this potential will necessitate international cooperation and coordinated multi-level governance. CSP has several ongoing projects that will be beneficial to PERMAGOV. Particularly useful will be the Celtic Sea data hub projects, which may form the basis for e-governance solutions for this case. These data hubs provide an extensive data resource for Celtic Sea Floating Offshore Wind development to better understand the climate, wind resources, seabirds and marine mammals in the area. The data will support strategic decision-making for the consent process using actionable data-driven insights.
Connections with other case studies
There will be many connections across the three energy cases (5-7). There may be connections to the decarbonization of shipping (case study 1) through, for example, the use of floating wind to decarbonise ports in Ireland. There may be connection to the motorways of the sea (case study 2) in terms of spatial overlaps between them and potential floating wind sites in the Celtic Sea.