Wind farm proposed for Irish Sea will be visible from Rush to Wicklow Town

145 wind turbines are included in the plan

A wind farm on the Arklow Bank in the Irish Sea. The latest €2 billion wind farm project would create 600 jobs at construction phase, supporters say.  Photograph: David O’Brien

A wind farm on the Arklow Bank in the Irish Sea. The latest €2 billion wind farm project would create 600 jobs at construction phase, supporters say. Photograph: David O’Brien

Tue, Jun 18, 2013, 10:47

Residents in Dublin and Wicklow have until the end of the month to make their views known about a proposed offshore wind farm on the Kish and Bray banks with up to 145 wind turbines.

Renewable energy developer Saorgas Energy Ltd has applied to the Minister for the Environment for a foreshore lease to allow for the development of the turbines 10km off shore. The 160m high structures will be visible as far north as Rush and as far south as Wicklow Town, according to the environmental impact statement (EIS) accompanying the application, and will be spaced in rows of five.

The €2 billion project, called Dublin Array, will create more than 600 jobs at its construction phase over two to three years, project developers have said, and there will be at least 250 full-time jobs on the wind farm once it is completed. It is expected to generate enough power for 450,000 homes.

An underwater cable will link a substation at sea to an Eirgrid substation at Carrickmines, south Dublin. The cable will reach land at Shanganagh and run underground along public roads. The company has already had discussions with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council about this aspect of the project. Consent from the Commission for Energy Regulation will also be required before the project can go ahead.

According to the EIS, “the visual impact of the development would be significant from many viewpoints along the coast” from Rush in north Dublin to Wicklow Town in the south.

“While the wind farm would be visible from many points along the coast, it would be set in the context of a landscape that has a tolerance for man-made developments.”

The project website also says “because the turbines are so far away they will appear to be much smaller and have less impact when viewed from land. They will also be painted in a neutral colour, further reducing their visibility.”

The EIS also says the turbines will not interfere with navigation channels and noise from construction will be “insignificant”.

Photomontages, plans and drawings, as well as the EIS, will be available for inspection at public libraries in Howth, Dalkey, Dún Laoghaire, Bray and Greystones, as well as at dublinarray.com.

Submissions on the granting of the lease to the project can be made to the Department of the Environment up to June 28th.

It is unclear when a decision might be made. Minister of State for the Environment Jan O’Sullivan has said pending publication of the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan, on which work began in December 2011, the application would not be assessed.

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