Utility giant Electricite de France (EDF) has acquired a 50pc stake in an Irish offshore wind farm project from a company whose shareholders include developer Johnny Ronan and his former construction business partner Richard Barrett.
It has previously been estimated that the entire Codling Bank project, which will eventually see hundreds of wind turbines erected about 13km off the Co Wicklow coast, could be worth as much as €100m.
The site is set to generate up to 1.1 gigawatts of electricity when operational. It is likely to cost well over €2bn to develop.
The other half of the project is owned by Norway's Fred Olsen Renewables, with tens of millions of euro already reportedly spent on surveys and other work associated with the scheme. Initial development work started in 2003.
Mr Barrett will now continue to focus on his non-Irish renewable projects, said Hazel Shore, the company that sold the stake.
It added that Mr Ronan and Conor Ronan, the developer's brother, will retain an equity interest in the Codling project.
"The Hazel Shore shareholders remain committed to continuing their renewable and forestry businesses," noted the firm, whose directors include Paddy Teahon, a former secretary of the Department of the Taoiseach and chairman of the National Offshore Wind Association of Ireland.
The French group's EDF Renewables subsidiary will now partner with the Norwegian firm to develop and build the Codling Bank project.
EDF pointed out that the acquisition of the Codling Bank stake comes after the Government committed to reducing carbon emissions.
A Climate Action Plan launched last year will see renewable projects generating 70pc of Ireland's electricity by 2030. Offshore wind is expected to deliver at least 3.5GW of power in support of the objective.