People living in north Wexford are being urged to have their say on the proposed Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 as public consultation on the project gets under way.
Located 6km to 13km off the coastline, to the east of Arklow, the proposed wind park is being developed by SSE Renewables and will be Ireland's first large-scale offshore wind farm with an export capacity of 520MW.
The proposed development will comprise up to 76 offshore wind turbines. When completed, the company says it will have the potential to power almost 450,000 homes annually and reduce Ireland's annual carbon emissions by around 1 per cent, offsetting over half a million tonnes of harmful CO2.
Once complete, the wind farm will create around 80 full-time jobs to support its day-to-day operation. These jobs will be sustained over the lifespan of the wind farm and will be based out of a purpose-built Operations and Maintenance Facility in Arklow.
In order to comply with Covid-19 restrictions during the public consultation period, details of the project are being shared online via www.sserenewables.com/arklowbank as well as through a number of self-guided exhibitions and a live internet Q&A session. This virtual approach includes a digital brochure, photomontages of the proposed development, and a feedback form where comments and opinions can be submitted.
SSE Renewables has said its team and dedicated Community Manager will work with local communities and stakeholders to gather feedback and local information during the public consultation.
From this week, a self-guided public information exhibitionwill be in place at Seamount, Courtown, as well as at the Bridgewater Shopping Centre and library in Arklow. Opening times are in line with venue opening hours and Covid-19 levels at the time.
On Wednesday, November 4, there will be an online community forum that will include an introduction to the project team, a full briefing on the current status of the project, and the next steps. Members of the public will also be invited to complete a feedback form that can be submitted online, or downloaded and printed for submission by post.
James O'Hara, Project Manager for Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2, said the company was delighted to share more information on the project with communities in north Wexford and Wicklow.
'We are continuing to progress our plans for the next phase of Arklow Bank Wind Park, which can bring huge benefits and local jobs to the region while helping meet the Government's 2025 target of securing 1GW of offshore wind. It is really important that local stakeholders get an opportunity to engage and share their views on the project ahead of us submitting separate applications to An Bord Pleanála and the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government which will allow the project to proceed,' he said.
Although the Covid pandemic has limited the company's ability to engage with the public in a face-to-face manner, Mr O'Hara said the project website will offer 'a variety of ways for people to learn more about the project and to fully engage with our project team, and to provide feedback to us.'
The company's Community Engagement Manager, Deborah Coleman, will be available to the public throughout the public consultation phase and can be contacted on 087 1457603 or Deborah.email@example.com
The public consultation remains open until November 11.