A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed to begin development on a large-scale offshore wind farm in the north Irish Sea, which could end with a 870 MW wind farm.
The project will commence with a 15 MW demonstration project, but Oriel Windfarm and Gaelectric Holdings, the two developers who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), hope that the project could produce up to 870 MW of wind energy. The project will initiate with an investment of €80m (£57m) investment into the 15 MW demonstration project.
The Oriel Windfarm could initiate a huge kick into Ireland’s wind energy industry, which is relatively small, especially when compared to its available resources. The Irish Government’s Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan, published in 2014, revealed that the country has the potential to generate up to 10,000 MW of renewable energy from offshore wind energy.
“This project represents the biggest step forward for the Irish offshore wind energy sector in the last ten years,” said Brian Britton, Managing Director of Oriel Windfarm. “NISA will commence with a significant demonstration project which, by their nature, draw investment and attract collaborations with local universities and provide opportunities for local businesses. Demonstration projects in the UK, Germany and Denmark have led to the development of full scale projects, leading to the creation of many thousands of jobs in those countries.”
“Offshore wind speeds, relatively shallow water depth and favourable sea bed conditions, make the Irish Sea an ideal location for offshore wind projects and as a testing ground for offshore wind technologies,” added Brendan McGrath, CEO of Gaelectric Holdings. “The presence of a number of established ports on the east coast of Ireland is also a factor which will help attract investment to Ireland. We are confident that the project will attract leading industry players to the offshore Irish market and will be an important step towards realising the vast potential for renewable generation from the Irish Sea.”
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