Public consultation opens on plan for State’s largest offshore wind farm

€2bn Codling Wind Park proposed for site 13km off Co Wicklow coast

The first phase of public consultation on what would be Ireland’s largest offshore wind farm has been opened by its developers. File image: iStock.

The first phase of public consultation on what would be Ireland’s largest offshore wind farm has been opened by its developers. File image: iStock.

 

The first phase of public consultation on what would be Ireland’s largest offshore wind farm has been opened by its developers.

The Codling Wind Park project would be located off the coast of Co Wicklow, between Greystones and Wicklow town, and is expected to have capacity to generate up to 1,500 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the equivalent of 1.2 million homes.

The developers say the project, forecast to cost some €2 billion, could generate enough energy to provide 70 per cent of all Irish households “with low-carbon, locally-produced, low-cost electricity”.

Codling Wind Park is a 50:50 joint venture between EDF Renewables and Fred Olsen Renewables. Its proximity to the greater Dublin region is considered advantageous due to high demand for electricity from the capital and surrounding areas.

It is due to be built 13km off the coast to the east of the shallow sand bank known as Codling Bank, and is likely to involve more than 200 fixed wind turbines.

A range of offshore and onshore environmental and technical studies and site investigations are to be undertaken this year, the developers said.

Planning applications

Onshore and offshore planning applications are expected to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála late this year or early next year, alongside a single environmental impact assessment. Subject to necessary permissions and consents being received, Codling could begin construction, which would take two to three years to complete, in 2024 or 2025.

Project director Arno Verbeek said the ambition was to “help create the right conditions for the development of a strong and sustainable offshore wind industry in Ireland”.

“We want to contribute to Ireland’s low-carbon ambitions and help generate a cleaner environment, not only for today’s generation but for generations to come,” he said.

Feedback was important to them, he added, and he hoped that many people would view the initial plans and share their thoughts on them.

The project would represent one of the largest energy infrastructure investments in Ireland this decade, he said, and about 1,000 people would be employed during construction, with 70 long-term, locally-based jobs linked to the completed wind farm.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the consultation will take place online between now and March 27th. There will be a virtual exhibition of the project, webinars and a series of virtual information clinics to facilitate individual and small group meetings with project representatives.

Further phases of consultation are planned for the summer and autumn to update and provide further chances for locals to give their views, Mr Verbeek said.

The virtual exhibition can be accessed via codlingwindpark.ie, as can further information about the webinars and information clinics.