More than 200 delegates will gather in the south west this week to plan how the deployment of floating wind farms in the Celtic Sea can drive economic and social benefits in the region.

Later this year The Crown Estate, which manages the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will start a tender process for the floating offshore wind industry to bid for wind farm sites in the Celtic Sea off the coastline of the south west and Wales.

The aim is to have 4GW of clean energy capacity by 2035, enough for four million homes. Longer term the Celtic Sea has been earmarked for 24GW of capacity by 2045. By comparison, the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset will be 3.2GW once operational.

Wednesday’s (June 7) Celtic Sea Summit at Sandy Park in Exeter will bring together key players in the offshore wind industry with regional bodies, local businesses and Government agencies. It will examine how the south west and Wales can support the development of a floating wind industry in the Celtic Sea, and reap the economic and social benefits. There will also be an update from The Crown Estate on the leasing process.

The event has been organised by Celtic Sea Power (CSP), the Hayle-based Cornwall Council owned company set up to ensure that the benefits of floating wind can be realised at a regional level. Early analysis in 2021 suggested that installing 3GW of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea could create 1,500 direct jobs and 9,600 wider jobs and generate £900 million net additional GVA for the economy. CSP is currently modelling figures for the higher targets of 4GW by 2035 and 24GW by 2045.

Steve Jermy, chief executive of Celtic Sea Power, said: “Floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea is something we have championed for several years and it is about to get real with the new leasing round. We’ve long identified it as a huge opportunity so the focus of the summit is on the critical next steps we collectively need to take to drive forward the industry and reap the benefits.

“We have convened a panel of experts to look at issues such as port infrastructure, skills needs, supply chains, policy interventions and risk. We will also examine grid capacity, mindful that bringing power ashore in Cornwall in the early stages of Celtic Sea development would catalyse further grid investment in the region. This would unlock the full potential of emerging local industries such as extraction of critical minerals like lithium, which are essential to the energy transition.”

The summit forms part of the Cornwall FLOW (floating offshore wind) Accelerator Programme, a £6 million ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) funded project led by CSP in partnership with Exeter University, Plymouth University and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.