Oriel Windfarm to lodge planning application

Dublin, May 20, 2024 - In a key milestone in the plan to deliver one of the first commercial scale offshore wind farms in Ireland, Oriel Windfarm will lodge a planning application with An Bord Pleanála (ABP) later this week for its proposed offshore wind farm in the North Irish Sea.

The Oriel wind farm project will be located off the north Co Louth coast and will comprise 25 wind turbines, with a combined generating capacity of up to 375 megawatts (MW), which is the equivalent of the energy needed to power about 300,000 homes, reducing the country’s carbon emissions and its reliance on imported fossil fuels.

The planning application, which is being lodged directly with An Bord Pleanála, also includes the construction of offshore and onshore electricity substations, and all of the necessary submarine and underground cables that are required for the operation of the proposed new green energy project.

Oriel, which is being developed by JERA Nex through its wholly owned subsidiary Parkwind, and ESB, was one of the first Irish offshore wind farms to be planned.

“This is a hugely significant moment, not just for Oriel and for the Northeast region, but for the entire Irish energy sector and the wider Irish economy,” said Garrett Connell, Parkwind Country Manager for Ireland.

“We have been working on making Oriel wind farm a reality for nearly 20 years and a huge amount of work has been completed to get to this key project milestone. Throughout this time, we have engaged and consulted with local communities and other stakeholders on many occasions, and we would encourage them to participate in this planning process, and make their views known to An Bord Pleanála," Mr Connell added.

The planning process is expected to take up to 12 months. If planning is granted, construction of the Oriel wind farm could begin in 2026, with the wind farm potentially becoming operational in 2028. Based on these timelines, Oriel would become Ireland’s first operational commercial scale offshore wind farm.

Advertisements informing the public of Oriel’s intention to lodge a planning application are appearing in certain national and local media outlets this week.

The planning process for the development of offshore wind farm requires that a project applies directly to An Bord Pleanála. There is then an eight-week period, during which parties can make an observation, or a submission to ABP.

While Oriel did not secure a State subsidised contract as part of last year’s Offshore Renewable Energy Support Scheme auction, this did not affect the overall development of the project, as the electricity that will be generated by Oriel’s wind turbines will be sold into the Irish electricity market.

“Subject to planning permission, Oriel Windfarm will have a significant impact in helping to meet Ireland’s target of having 80% of its electricity generated by renewable sources by 2030,” according to Conor Martin, Investment Manager on behalf of ESB. “The State’s Climate Action Plan 2023 envisages at least seven gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030 and Oriel can play a key role in achieving that goal by being in the vanguard of the delivery of Irish offshore wind generation on a commercial scale.”

The development and operation of the Oriel wind farm project will also deliver significant local economic and community benefits to the Northeast region. The project will include a significant multi-million euro community fund that will be designed to benefit the local region and will be in operation throughout the life of the wind farm.

Oriel was granted a Maritime Area Consent (MAC) by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan T.D. in December of 2022. A MAC is a new type of formal consent that must be granted by the Irish government before a proposed offshore wind farm project can apply for planning permission to An Bord Pleanála.

The awarding of the MAC meant that Oriel could formally engage with representatives of ABP in recent months on the process of making a planning application.

The final design of the project has been based on a series of detailed scientific studies, carried out over many years, coupled with consultation with local and national stakeholders. The planning application including an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and a Natura Impact Statement (NIS). These will be made available online at www.orielwindfarm-marineplanning.ie after the application has been lodged this Friday, May 24th. Copies of the application and all supporting documents can also be viewed for eight weeks from June 4th during public opening hours at the following locations:

• The Offices of An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 V902.

• The Offices of Louth County Council, County Hall, Millennium Centre, Dundalk, Co. Louth, A91 KFW6.

About JERA Nex

JERA Nex is a company created by JERA to scale renewable energy for a sustainable future. JERA Nex combines the resilience of JERA, one of the world’s largest electricity producers, with the agility and focus of a dedicated renewables business that can act at the pace required to drive the global energy transition.

JERA Nex invests in, currently owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy assets, with a portfolio over 3GW that includes offshore wind, onshore wind and solar, as well as battery storage. This includes Parkwind, its wholly owned subsidiary. Headquartered in London, and with centres of excellence in Belgium, Japan, Taiwan and the US, our team of more than 300 renewable and energy industry experts combines global knowhow and experience with the local expertise and knowledge necessary to deliver successful projects.

Find out more at www.jeranex.com

For JERA Nex media inquiries please contact: communications@jeranex.com

About Parkwind

Parkwind is an integrated offshore wind business that develops, finances and operates offshore wind farms. Since April 2024, Parkwind has been operating as part of JERA Nex, the renewable energy subsidiary of JERA Inc, one of the largest power generational companies in the world. Together, Parkwind and JERA have more than a decade of experience and over 750 MW of offshore wind assets under operational management in Belgium, Germany, the UK, Taiwan, and Japan, in addition to an extensive pipeline of offshore wind projects in development around the world including in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Japan, France, Norway, Greece, and Australia/New Zealand.

Committed to making green energy available and affordable for everyone through its unique approach of covering the entire value chain of offshore wind, Parkwind has established itself as a reliable and competitive partner to communities, governments and suppliers globally.

Find out more at www.parkwind.eu

For media inquiries, please contact communication@parkwind.eu

About ESB

ESB has been Ireland's foremost energy company since it was established in 1927, driven by an unwavering commitment to power society forward and deliver a net-zero future for our customers and the communities we serve.

Launched in 2022, its ‘Driven to Make a Difference: Net Zero by 2040’ strategy sets out a clear roadmap for ESB to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.

As a strong, diversified utility, ESB operates across the electricity market, from generation through transmission and distribution, to supply of customers in addition to using our networks to carry fibre for telecommunications. ESB is a leading Irish utility with a regulated asset base of approximately €12.0 billion (comprising ESB Networks at €9.7 billion and NIE Networks at €2.3 billion), a 30 % share of generation in the all-island market and supply businesses supplying electricity and gas to over two million customer accounts throughout the island of Ireland and Great Britain.

As at 31 December 2022, ESB Group employed over 8,000 people.

For ESB media inquiries please contact: paul.hand@esb.ie