The Oriel Windfarm
The Oriel Windfarm project is being jointly developed by Parkwind and ESB. It will be the first Irish Sea Offshore Wind Energy project developed by Parkwind and ESB, and is also likely to be the first fully operational commercial wind farm in Irish waters.
The development will be located off the coast of County Louth. The site was chosen based on an assessment of the following criteria:
• water depth
• seabed sediments
• wind speeds
• shelter from high wave loads
• low tidal currents
• access to existing grid infrastructure
Only few sites in Ireland that meet these criteria.
In 2010 Oriel was granted a conditional Foreshore Lease to construct an offshore wind farm in the waters to the east of Dundalk Bay. The project was delayed due to market conditions and the collapse of the economy.
In 2017 Parkwind invested in the project, becoming the operator, bringing considerable technical expertise to the project. More recently, ESB have joined the project.
The new project team has spent the last two years updating environmental surveys and technical data. The final updated design of the Oriel wind farm will be established following further study and public engagement. The project will be up to 370 MW in capacity. It will be located between 6 and 22km from the coast.
Oriel expect to apply for consent to the relevant planning authorities in 2021. The consent application will be supported by a detailed planning drawings, Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Natura Impact Statement.
The Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan 2019 identifies clear policy steps towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, including an increased target for renewable sources of energy from 30% to 70% by 2030. This will be achieved by adding 12 GW of renewable energy capacity, including a minimum of 3.5 GW of offshore wind, coming from projects such as the Oriel Wind Farm. All initiatives under the climate action plan are required to have positive economic and societal benefits for the long term, including the establishment of a community benefit fund.