Leading Irish energy provider and renewable energy developer Energia Renewables has reached a significant milestone in the development of its South Irish Sea wind project, as seabed surveys have been successfully completed off the coast of Wexford and Wicklow.
(Pictured above: Northern Maria – Survey Vessel)
Energia Renewables’ South Irish Sea project is now one of the most advanced offshore energy projects in the south-east and anywhere in Ireland. This means that once all approvals are in place, assuming there are no delays, construction of the offshore wind farm could start as early as 2026.
Following the granting of a Foreshore Licence in 2021, Energia Renewables carried out surveys over several months between April and October 2022. These surveys, known as ‘geotechnical’ and ‘geophysical’ surveys measured important information about the seabed and conditions at the offshore sites off Wexford and Wicklow.
Information from the surveys will be vital in informing the next phase of Energia’s project as it moves on to project design stage where decisions are made on the number, size and suitable locations of the wind turbines.
Speaking about reaching this project milestone, Energia Renewables, Offshore Manager, Eoin McPartland said, “We’re at an exciting stage of the South Irish Sea project off the coast of Wexford and south Wicklow. The information from these surveys will materially progress our understanding of the sites and inform the future project development.
“We’re very grateful to the fishing community across the south-east for their engagement and discussions with us, which helped us to successfully complete these surveys, and to everyone who has taken part in our consultation processes and our public information clinics to date. We will continue to consult with fishing and local communities and will provide regular updates on our South Irish Sea project on an ongoing basis. We welcome anyone who would like to get in touch about this project to do so and we welcome any inputs.”
Eoin added, “It’s a great achievement to get these surveys completed as the availability of survey vessels around the world is very scarce and subject to significant supply chain constraints. So this is very significant as it confirms that we can contribute to the achievement of Ireland’s 2030 climate action targets. We will now progress to more detailed design and consultation ahead of the establishment of the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA) where we will apply for a Maritime Area Consent (MAC). It is critical that this process is initiated and available to projects such as the South Irish Sea project as soon as possible to allow for achievement of Ireland’s climate action targets. Following MAC grant, the project will go ahead with a formal planning application in due course.
“In addition to the South Irish Sea project, we are also progressing the North Celtic Sea project off the coast of Waterford. The seabed surveys for this project have also been completed and this will add to our potential to contribute to energy sustainability for the south-east and Ireland.
“Given that the development timeline for these projects is up to 10 years, it’s essential that the small number of early-stage projects, like South Irish Sea and North Celtic Sea – that have made significant progress to date – continue to achieve key development milestones enabling them to play a part in Ireland’s 2030 energy system.”
As a leading Irish energy provider and long-term renewable energy infrastructure investor, Energia currently supplies approximately 20% of all electricity on the island of Ireland to over 823,000 homes and businesses. Energia is responsible for providing electricity from approximately 25% of all wind power on the island.