Members of the public in County Wicklow and North County Wexford are being encouraged to have their say on the proposed Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 as public consultation on the project gets underway.
Located 6km to 13km off the Co. Wicklow coastline, to the east of Arklow, the proposed wind park is being developed by leading renewable energy developer, owner and operator SSE Renewables and will be Ireland’s first large-scale offshore wind farm with an export capacity of 520MW.
The proposed Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 will comprise up to 76 offshore wind turbines. When completed the offshore wind farm will have the potential to power almost 450,000 homes annually and reduce Ireland’s annual carbon emissions by around 1%, offsetting over half a million tonnes of harmful CO2^.
SSE Renewables is proposing to invest between €1 billion and €2 billion to develop Arklow Bank Wind Park to its full potential. The proposed wind farm will be located in shallow waters at the Arklow Bank sandbank in the Irish Sea, an area ideally suited to the efficient development of offshore energy infrastructure. The foreshore lease covers an area approximately 27km long and 2.5km wide.
When complete, the wind farm will create around 80 full-time jobs to support the day-to-day operation of the new offshore wind farm. These local jobs will be sustained over the lifespan of the wind farm and will be based out of a new purpose-built Operations and Maintenance Facility at Arklow Harbour’s South Dock.
In order to comply with Covid-19 restrictions during the public consultation period, details of the project are being shared online with the public via www.sserenewables.com/arklowbank as well as through a number of self-guided exhibitions and a live internet Q&A session.
This virtual approach offers a complete overview of the project including a digital brochure, photomontages of the proposed completed development, and a feedback form where comments and opinions on the project can be submitted.
As part of public consultation process, the SSE Renewables team and its dedicated Community Manager will work with local communities and stakeholders to gather feedback and local information that will inform the project. From this week, members of the public can attend self-guided public information exhibitions at Bridgewater Shopping Centre in Arklow as well as Arklow Town Library, at Wicklow’s Municipal Town Hall, and at Seamount, Courtown. The exhibitions are unmanned due to Covid-19 restrictions and opening times are in line with venue opening hours and Covid-19 levels at the time.
On Wednesday 4 November, the company will host an online community forum that will include an introduction to the project team, a full briefing on the current status of the project, and the next steps. Members of the public are also invited to complete a feedback form that can be submitted online, or downloaded and printed for submission by post.
James O’Hara, Project Manager for Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2, said: “We are delighted now to be able to share this wealth of information about Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 with communities in Counties Wicklow and Wexford. We are continuing to progress our plans for the next phase of Arklow Bank Wind Park, which can bring huge benefits and local jobs to the region while helping meet the Government’s 2025 target of securing 1GW of offshore wind. It is really important that local stakeholders get an opportunity to engage and share their views on the project ahead of us submitting separate applications to An Bord Pleanála and the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government which will allow the project to proceed.
“While the Covid-19 restrictions have impacted on our ability to host face-to-face events, our dedicated project website, self-guided exhibitions and live online Q&A session will offer a variety of ways for people to learn more about the project and to fully engage with our project team, and to provide feedback to us. Community Engagement Manager Deborah Coleman will also be available to the public throughout the public consultation phase.”
Public consultation remains open until November 11, 2020.
For further information contact Community Engagement Manager Deborah Coleman at 087 1457603 or Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org