Energia Group, one of Ireland’s leading and most experienced renewable energy companies, has been granted foreshore licences by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, to carry out surveys for their proposed new offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea and the south Irish Sea.
Each of the projects will involve multi-billion euro investments by Energia as part of the company’s Positive Energy Programme for Ireland, creating jobs and economic benefit for coastal communities, and clean, green electricity on an ongoing basis into the future.
The proposed windfarms are to be located at a minimum of 10km and up to 25km out to sea. These locations seek to maximise the potential for offshore wind off the coasts of Ireland, to urgently address the climate crisis, through the use of cost-effective and proven technology that has been installed around the world in water depths up to 60m.
Over the next 18-24 months, Energia will undertake a number of studies off Co. Waterford (for the North Celtic Sea project), and off Co. Wexford and south County Wicklow (for the South Irish Sea project).
Information from these studies will help to establish a number of key project details, including the proposed location of the offshore turbines. These details will be presented in an open and transparent way through a series of public consultations, as well as ultimately in a statutory consultation to support planning applications that Energia expects to submit in 2023.
The first public consultation on the proposed North Celtic Sea project started on 22nd September and will remain open until 29th October. A virtual consultation room has been created on the project website and includes survey area maps, indicative photo illustrations, a project timeline, and other information on the project including engagement with local and fishing communities. A public webinar and information clinics have been scheduled in October, with further information available on the project website.
The first public consultation on the proposed South Irish Sea project will open in the coming weeks.
Welcoming the granting of the Foreshore Licences, Eoin McPartland Offshore Renewables Manager at Energia said, “The awarding of these licences represents a very significant milestone in the development of both our North Celtic Sea and South Irish Sea projects. These projects now join a small number of offshore projects to have been awarded foreshore licences and that can realistically contribute to the achievement of Ireland’s 2030 targets.”
“Having applied for these foreshore licences in 2019, it’s great to now be in a position to progress to the next stage of survey work on both projects. As a responsible business with extensive experience of building large scale renewable projects in Ireland, we know the importance of remaining in regular contact with local and fishing communities, including through our series of planned public consultations.”
”With these projects, Energia is supporting Ireland’s climate action target to reduce carbon emissions by half by 2030 and become a carbon-neutral country by 2050. Energia’s wind energy projects will make a very positive contribution by generating clean electricity for homes and businesses throughout Ireland and we are committed to ensuring all areas of the local economy can thrive in parallel with these developments.”
A website with information has been set up for each project:
www.northcelticseawind.ie for the North Celtic Sea project.
www.southirishseawind.ie for the South Irish Sea project.
The surveys, for which licences have now been granted, are similar to those that have already taken place for a small number of other projects around the coast of Ireland to identify potentially suitable areas for offshore renewable energy generation.
The surveys will provide information on the ecology of the sea area and detailed imagery and conditions of the seabed. This will involve 2 (and occasionally 3) vessels in the area at any one time. The survey and vessels will comply with all environmental legislation and controls.
No structures will be erected onshore as part of the surveys and there will be no negative impacts on the marine or coastal environment.
Energia’s offshore wind energy projects are in line with the aims of the Government of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan and Programme for Government, for greater volumes of renewable energy to create sustainability of energy supply from green and renewable sources, and to reduce the impact of climate change on our environment.