Valorous floating offshore wind project will be located in the Celtic Sea. (Credit: Blue Gem Wind Ltd)
The operational life of the project will be 25 years. (Credit: Jose Antonio Alba from Pixabay)
Blue Gem Wind has appointed OWC as Owner’s Engineer for the pre-FEED of the Valorous project. (Credit: Blue Gem Wind Ltd)

Valorous is a proposed 300MW floating offshore wind project in the Celtic Sea region. The proposed project site is situated approximately 50km off the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales.

The offshore wind project is being developed by Blue Gem Wind, a joint venture between Simply Blue Group and TotalEnergies.

Valorous is Blue Gem Wind’s second project in the Celtic Sea.

The first one is Erebus, a 100MW test and demonstration project, currently in the development phase.

Valorous is in project planning and design phase. It will be built in a single phase and is expected to be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2029.

The operational life of the project will be 25 years, with decommissioning planned in Q4 2054.

The project will help Welsh and UK government in achieving net zero 2050 target. It also supports climate emergency, Environmental Wales Act, Welsh National Marine Plan, UK Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy, and Well Being of the Future Generations Act.

Site details and Infrastructure

Valorous Floating Offshore Wind Project is located 47 km southwest of the Pembrokeshire coastline. The outline area of interest includes around 155km2 area. The water depth in the region ranges from 70m to 84m.

The 300MW Floating Offshore Wind Project components include wind turbine generators, floating offshore wind platforms and mooring infrastructure, an offshore substation, inter-array and offshore export cables, onshore cabling and an onshore substation near the grid connection point and other associated infrastructure.

Navigational markers such as buoys will be utilised during the construction and operational phases of the project to warn the mariners of site’s presence and reduce other risks.

Project details

The project will have between 18 and 31 wind turbine generators with nameplate rating between 9.5MW and 16MW. Each of the turbines will have up to 45,300m3 swept area.

The maximum blade tip height of each turbine from the sea level will be up to 270m. The diameter of the rotor will be up to 240m.

The wind turbine generators are expected to be mounted on a semi-submersible platform with water entrapment plates and an asymmetric mooring system.

The semi-submersible platform columns of the floating offshore wind platforms will be inter-connected with a truss structure consisting of main beams, bracings, and connecting columns.

Other structures will include a boat landing on one of the platforms, railings, deck space, and associated equipment.

The seabed substrate across most of the proposed project area is composed of sand with muddy sand in a small area towards the north.

The mooring options being considered for the project are Suction Piling/Drilled Piles and Drag Embedment Anchors. The final decision will be taken after additional design studies.

The energy generated by the wind turbines will be transmitted by the offshore substation from the offshore array area to shore.

The substation will consist of two key structures- a top side and a sub structure. The top side structure will feature electrical equipment, and storage and communication facilities. It may also include a communication mast with crane.

The sub structure will either be fixed or floating depending on the ground conditions.

According to Valorous Project Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report, the inter-array cables between the semi-submersible platform units will have a lazy-wave configuration.

The 66kV three-core, dynamic design, High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) subsea cables will connect up to eight turbines.

Overall, the number of offshore inter array cables will be 20-37 with individual length ranging between 1.8km-2.2km.

The project will feature up to two export cables rated at 220kV or 275kV. The length of the cables will vary between 57-62km. It will be determined after the export route is finalised.

Blue Gem Wind has selected West Angle Beach; Angle Bay (Sawdern Point); Freshwater West Beach; and Angle Peninsula South Coast between Whitedole Bay and Gravel Bay as potential landfall sites.

The 220Kv or 275Kv onshore export cables will stretch between 5.5km and 15km, depending on the final landfall location.

The cable route for connecting the onshore substation to the national grid at Pembroke 400kV substation will be rated at 400kV.

The substation will connect the offshore power to the onshore network and the national grid. It will consist of main transformer, HV switchgear, protection and control interface, and power quality management equipment.

Contractors and agreements

In June 2021, Blue Gem Wind announced the commencement of digital aerial surveys for Valorous floating wind project. The JV selected APEM for bird and marine mammal surveys that will run for 24 consecutive months.

In Jul 2022, OWC was appointed as Owner’s Engineer for the pre-FEED of the proposed wind project. OWC, joined by MarineSpace, ITPEnergised and Black & Veatch, will deliver Owner’s Engineering services for the pre-lease engineering and consenting scope for the Valorous project.

The project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Report was prepared by MarineSpace and ITP Energised (ITPE).

Valorous has a grid connection agreement with National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO).