Offshore wind farm project agreement reached by ESB

An agreement has been reached to kick-start the offshore wind generation industry in the Republic of Ireland between Belgian firm Parkwind and ESB through the state utility body’s acquisition of up to 35% in the Oriel project.

The Oriel project, located in the Irish Sea off the coast of Dundalk, Co. Louth, has a capacity of up to 330MW and is planned to begin commercial operations in the early 2020s.

Once operational, the Oriel Wind farm will generate enough capacity to cover the needs of approximately 280,000 households – most of the population in counties Louth and Meath.

Oriel will furthermore contribute to the reduction of Ireland’s carbon emissions by 600,000t per annum, according to the ESB.

Parkwind will continue to head the project from its Dublin offices in close collaboration with ESB.

ESB and Parkwind will also work together on the Clogherhead project for which ESB holds a foreshore license to commence site investigations.

Parkwind will acquire up to 35% of the Clogherhead project which is intended to be developed as a unique development, under a separate planning application.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, who met with senior ESB and Parkwind representatives this afternoon (Tuesday, January 22), commented:

“Today’s announcement is a significant development for Ireland’s offshore wind industry.

“This project has the potential to deliver sustainable, clean offshore wind energy for 280,000 Irish families – equivalent to the needs of most of Louth and Meath.

With a sea area almost 10 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.

Parkwind’s co-CEO Francois Van Leeuw stated: “Parkwind is continuously looking for strategic partnerships when developing projects.

“We look forward to working with ESB and local stakeholders in making the Oriel and the Clogherhead projects a success.”

ESB chief executive Pat O’Doherty added: “Under our Brighter Future Strategy, ESB is completely transforming the way we generate electricity, replacing high-carbon generation with low-carbon and renewable alternatives.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant investment by ESB in offshore wind, which we anticipate will account for the bulk of Ireland’s future zero carbon electricity.”