A MAJOR €620m offshore wind farm is being planned for a site in the North Irish Sea and could be up and running by 2013.
Revealing details of the venture yesterday, Oriel Windfarm managing director Briasn Britton said the wind farm will have capacity to generate 330 megawatts of electricity.
Preparatory work on the project has been under way for several years under the terms of a Foreshore Licence granted to Oriel in 2005.
Mr Briton said that on completion, the wind farm will have capacity to generate in excess of 5pc of Ireland's electricity needs, producing enough electricity for 250,000 homes.
Being offshore it will have a capacity utilisation of about 30pc, which compares to as little as 23pc for onshore windfarms.
The site of the proposed wind farm is 22km south east of Dundalk and 24km north east of Drogheda. If all the relevant consents are obtained, construction could commence as early as Autumn 2009.
The windfarm will comprise 55 turbines producing up to 6MW of electricity each, and will be constructed in five phases of eleven turbines each.
Oriel expects to commence supplying electricity to the national grid within two years of commencement of construction and the entire development could be completed by 2013.
Oriel said it has invested over €7m in bringing the project to the development stage and claims it would reduce the Governments carbon emission liabilities, reduce national dependence on fossil fuel burning power stations and enhance security of supply by reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Based on figures supplied by Sustainable Energy Ireland, the Oriel wind farm has the potential to avert the release of over 350,000 tonnes of Co2 per annum.