An Irish-Spanish joint venture is planning three offshore electricity generating fields that will cost up to €6.5 billion on the basis of industry estimates.
Local player DP Energy is joining forces with Spanish giant Iberdrola to build three offshore wind farms around the Irish coast with capacity to generate 3,000 megawatts (mw) of electricity.
DP and Iberdrola intend to build two floating wind farms off the Cork/Waterford and Clare/Kerry coasts, and a third fixed wind plant in the Irish Sea off counties Wicklow and Wexford.
Each will be capable of generating 1,000mw of electricity at full capacity, which DP estimates is enough energy to power about a million homes.
The company did not say how much the projects are likely to cost the partners, but industry estimates put the overall cost at about €6.5 billion.
At current rates, the floating wind farms would require an investment of more than €2 billion each, while the Wexford project could cost between €2 billion and €2.5 billion.
According to Yvonne Cronin, DP's community and stakeholder liaison manager, the company has applied to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage for foreshore licences for all three projects.
DP is surveying the areas involved before narrowing them down to the most suitable locations for wind farms in each zone.
It also exploring the nearby coastlines for landfall locations for the subsea cables that will transmit the electricity generated to the grid.
Once it has consulted with local communities, the fishing industry and other stakeholders, the company will pinpoint a preferred area and move ahead with the planning process.
The area it is surveying for Inis Ealga off the south coast runs from Robert's Head in Co Cork to Helvick in Waterford.
The area highlighted for the second floating wind project, dubbed Clarus, involves a zone off the coast stretching from Doughmore, Co Clare, to Kerry Head.
DP is also surveying an area running from Arklow, Co Wicklow, to Rosslare Harbour, Co Wexford, for the Irish Sea project, which is known as Shelmalere.
The company recently discussed Shelmalere with local representatives on Arklow Municipal District, the town’s local authority.
“The Shelmalere offshore wind farm is one of our most ambitious projects yet and we look forward to hearing the feedback from the local community in the process,” said Ms Cronin.
DP Energy is one of Ireland's longest-standing renewable electricity businesses. Based in Buttevant, Co Cork, the company built its first wind farm in Co Tyrone in 1995. It has wind and solar projects here, in Britain, Australia and North America.
Iberdrola is one of the world’s biggest electricity companies. It supplies power to almost 100 million people around the world, employs 38,000 workers and has assets worth €123 billion.
The two companies previously worked on a “hybrid” wind and solar energy project in Australia.