Sunday 21 April 2019

SSE scouts Wicklow and Arklow for offshore wind hub

Turbines in an offshore wind farm. Stock image
Turbines in an offshore wind farm. Stock image

Michael Cogley

Energy giant SSE has begun assessing Wicklow Port and Arklow Harbour as possible locations for a service base for the country's only offshore wind farm.

The Scottish company has appointed consultancy group Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions to determine which would act as a better control hub for the €2bn Arklow Bank Wind Park.

When completed, the wind farm will have a minimum capacity of 520 megawatts (MW), which can power almost half a million homes annually.

SSE has identified a need for a land-based hub for servicing and maintaining the park. The new hub will provide work for around 60 full-time employees.

The company also claims that the new wind farm will benefit local businesses who will become service providers to it, particularly those involved in vessel services, fuel, technical inputs, and the loading and unloading of project cargoes. SSE said the on-shore base will also provide an "opportunity for significant new investment and ongoing economic activity".

Wind farm project manager James O'Hara said the company was "actively engaging" with the local communities in both towns.

"Ultimately, this study will identify the optimum location for the operations and maintenance facility," he said. "Our ambition, however, is that regardless of the final location of the service base, the overall delivery of our Arklow Bank Wind Park project will bring long-term economic and employment benefits to coastal communities in both towns for many years to come."

SSE predicted the assessment would conclude in the coming months and that a location will be selected by the summer.

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