Advances in wind energy technology mean the proposed Codling Bank wind park off the Co Wicklow coast could be developed with “a greatly reduced” number of turbines, the backers of the project have said.
The offshore wind park would be located in a 125sq km area, ranging from 13km to 22km off the Co Wicklow coast, and would contain 140 wind turbines with a maximum height of 320m.
About 18,500 glossy brochures about the project were hand delivered to homes between Bray and Wicklow town this week by Codling Wind Park, a 50:50 joint venture between EDF Renewables and Fred Olsen Renewables.
Steve Thomas, a spokesman for the wind park company, said the project would be Ireland’s largest offshore wind development. The park was “a combination of what was initially proposed as two projects” involving up to 440 turbines.
“Significant advances in wind turbine technology, combined with considerable reductions in the cost of energy from offshore wind, means that Codling can now be developed as one project with a greatly reduced number of wind turbines while optimising the renewable electricity production from the site,” he said.
The current expectation and design for the offshore part of the wind farm involves a total installed capacity of between 900 megawatts (MW) and 1,500 megawatts (MW) from up to 140 turbines.
Each proposed individual turbine could generate up to 16MW of electricity, whereas those commonly used just 10 years ago would produce 3MW. The wind park’s proximity to the greater Dublin region is considered advantageous due to high demand for electricity from the capital and surrounding areas.
According to the latest timetable for the project, public consultation will take place from this year until 2023, with construction not beginning before 2024 at the earliest. Site investigations have been under way off the coast for some time.
The backers say about 1,000 people would be employed during construction, with 70 long-term jobs arising from the completed wind farm.