Saturday 20 July 2019

Offshore windfarm capable of powering up to 280,000 homes will be operating from early 2020s

Oriel Windfarm are seeking to develop a windfarm in the north Irish Sea
Oriel Windfarm are seeking to develop a windfarm in the north Irish Sea
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

One of the country’s biggest offshore windfarms, capable of generating power for 280,000 homes at peak production, will be operational from the early 2020s.

The ESB is to take a 35pc stake in the Oriel project being developed by Belgian firm Parkwind which will see up to 55 turbines installed 22kms off the coast of Dundalk.

Parkwind develops, finances, builds and operates offshore wind farms, and currently operates farms in Belgian territorial waters.

The project has largely ready to go, and will have capacity of up to 330MW, allowing it to power much of Louth and Meath.

Oriel Wind Farm
Oriel Wind Farm

It will also help reduce carbon emissions by up to 600,000 tonnes per year.

“Today’s announcement is a significant development for Ireland’s offshore wind industry,” Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said.

“I am determined to make Ireland a leader in climate action. Renewable energy is critical to this ambition. With a sea area almost ten times the size of its landmass, Ireland has very significant offshore wind capacity and this partnership is a testament to our potential in this area.”

The project is dependent on securing a foreshore licence and other regulatory approvals, and financial support for the electricity generated.

Parkwind’s co-CEO Francois Van Leeuw added: “Parkwind is continuously looking for strategic partnerships when developing projects. This partnership is driven by the strategy of the company which is based on a long-term vision whereby we  not only develop, but also operate our projects.

“A strong local partner such as ESB is the right match to further execute this strategy. Since its entry into the Oriel project, Parkwind has performed a lot of development activities, opened offices in Dublin and is today delighted to welcome ESB to the Oriel project team. We look forward to working with ESB and local stakeholders in making the Oriel and the Clogherhead projects a success.”

Both Parkwind and the ESB have also agreed to collaborate on developing another offshore farm at Clogherhead, but this project is at an earlier stage of planning.

ESB holds a foreshore license to commence site investigations, and Parkwind will acquire up to 35pc of the project.

ESB chief executive Pat O’Doherty said the announcement represented a “significant investment” by the ESB in offshore wind, which would be a major part of decarbonising power generation.

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