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North Irish Sea offshore wind farm looms

Words: Roger Milne
Offshore wind turbines / iStock_000033111088

Two wind farm developers, Oriel Windfarm and Gaelectric Holdings, have announced that they have signed a deal to co-develop a significant wind farm in the north Irish Sea, designed to kick-start Ireland’s stalled offshore renewable energy programme.

The proposed North Irish Sea Array (NISA), which would be located off the country’s east coast, has the potential to produce up to 870 megawatts (MW) of wind energy from the Irish Sea, starting with the development of a 15 MW demonstration project involving an investment of €80 million in a research and development hub for offshore wind energy.

If the scheme climbs off the drawing board it would be the first major offshore renewable energy project to be developed in the Irish Sea since the construction of the Arklow Bank Wind Farm by GE Electricity in 2001.

Oriel Windfarm managing director Brian Britton said that the firms will apply for a foreshore construction lease for the NISA project once a new foreshore development bill is passed through the Dail, which he expects to be this autumn.