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Initial findings from a supply chain study by RWE and Marine Power Systems are helping identify where Wales and the region can benefit from the forthcoming Celtic Sea floating wind technology boom.

The study is funded by RWE, and carried out by Marine Power Systems, which is developing a floating wind platform solution called PelaFlex. RWE is working with the company to help prove the platform’s capabilities in the Celtic Sea marine environment, and test the deliverability of the technology in the region.
RWE is preparing to bid into the Crown Estate’s forthcoming Celtic Sea seabed leasing auction later this year, where up to 4GW of floating wind will be awarded. In anticipation of the auction, RWE has prepared a supply chain initiative which will be unveiled next month, and which is aimed at fostering innovation, and maximizing opportunities for local companies.
The first phase of the study showed that:
  • The shallow waters and harsh Metocean conditions in the Celtic Sea bring unique engineering challenges compared to other global floating wind markets. These can be solved using robust solutions which are optimised for these conditions
  • High tidal ranges and metocean conditions are particular challenges of the Celtic Sea, demonstrating need for local ports to facilitate the deployment of floating offshore wind. 
  • Whilst several regional ports have the physical and locational potential to support floating wind in the Celtic Sea, significant strategic investment decisions are urgently required to champion a leading ‘hub’ port to accommodate the emerging technology. A port with the right capabilities will be key to maximizing local content opportunities – without investment in those capabilities, the full potential of local supply chain will not be reached.
  • A great opportunity exists for the supply of steel components from UK firms, but again strategic investment decisions are required to supply at the scale required. Secondary steel production currently offers the best local opportunity. There are further opportunities for specialist UK engineering services connected with the supply of  foundation components, such as moorings.
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