The Welsh government has given planning consent for a floating wind farm in Pembrokeshire which could power more than 90,000 homes.
Burges Salmon has advised TotalEnergies and Simply Blue Group’s joint venture, Blue Gem Wind, on securing the offshore and onshore consents for the 100MW Erebus project.
This project is a test and demonstration project and the first floating wind array consented in the Celtic Sea. The Crown Estate, as owner of the seabed, is due to launch a licensing round for 4GW of offshore wind farm capacity in the first half of 2023, as a precursor to a further 20GW of floating wind capacity thereafter. Erebus is a key stepping stone facilitating these wider ambitions for Wales and South West England.
Following a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment process, Blue Gem Wind was granted a marine licence for the Erebus project on 17 February 2023 and a section 36 consent, with onshore planning permission on 7 March 2023.
Erebus, named after the famous ship built in Pembroke Dock in 1826, is expected to be located approximately 28 miles off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Independent studies have suggested there could be as much as 50GW of electricity capacity available in the Celtic Sea waters of the UK and Ireland. This renewable energy resource will play a key role in the UK meeting its Net Zero targets.
Erebus will provide new low carbon supply chain opportunities, support coastal communities and create long-term benefits for the region.
The Burges Salmon team advising on the licence application was led by the firm’s Head of Renewable Energy and Chair of Net Zero Services, Ross Fairley, and Planning team partner Julian Boswall. The work builds on the wider legal advice that the Burges Salmon team is providing to Erebus on the development.
In 2022, Burges Salmon also advised Blue Gem Wind on the consenting application for its 100MW Erebus floating offshore wind project.
Fairley said, “It has been a pleasure to assist Blue Gem Wind on securing a marine licence for this pioneering wind project, which is a tremendous opportunity for Wales and the South West. Our Renewable Energy and Planning lawyers have been leading the way in offshore wind for many years and this deal marks another milestone for the firm.”
Mark Drakeford, Wales’ First Minister, said, “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.
“In determining the marine license and the planning consents, the Welsh government and our partners in Natural Resources Wales have enabled this project to move forward to apply for subsidy support from the UK government.
“I urge the UK government to do its part through the Contracts for Difference process to drive the industry forward by working with the Erebus team to secure the first floating offshore wind project in Welsh waters, bringing jobs and green energy to our communities.”
A UK Government spokesperson said, “We are committed to building on our leading position as part of our wider efforts to increase our energy security and independence.
“This is underlined by our announcement in the British Energy Security Strategy of our ambition to deploy up to 5GW of floating wind generation by 2030.
“While we cannot comment on specific projects, the government recognises the potential of floating offshore wind and the UK already has the world’s first and largest floating windfarms.”