Press Release05.2024

Oriel Windfarm to Lodge Planning Application This Week

Oriel Windfarm to Lodge Planning Application This Week

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.

ENDS

For further information:

Jackie Phelan, Murray, + 353 83 8597874, jphelan@murraygroup.ie

Paul O’Kane, Murray, + 353 86 6090221 pokane@murraygroup.ie

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