Oriel Windfarm signs MoU with Gaelectric to build 870MW offshore wind farm in Ireland

9 July 2015 (Last Updated July 9th, 2015 18:30)

Oriel Windfarm has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gaelectric to co-develop North Irish Sea Array (NISA) wind project in the north Irish Sea, which could produce up to 870MW of renewable energy.

Oriel Windfarm has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gaelectric to co-develop North Irish Sea Array (NISA) wind project in the north Irish Sea, which could produce up to 870MW of renewable energy.

The offshore project will be started off with a demonstration phase that will require an initial investment of €80m.

Initially, the companies will develop 15MW NISA demonstration hub, which will serve as a research and development hub for further development of the project.

As well as strengthening the base of new technology, this demonstration project will also offer developers the scope for testing the turbines, cables and foundations under full operating conditions.

"We are confident that the project will attract leading industry players to the offshore Irish market and will be an important step towards realising the vast potential for renewable generation from the Irish Sea."

Oriel Windfarm managing director Brian Britton said: "This project represents the biggest step forward for the Irish offshore wind energy sector in the last ten years.

"NISA will commence with a significant demonstration project which, by their nature, draw investment and attract collaborations with local universities and provide opportunities for local businesses.

"Demonstration projects in the UK, Germany and Denmark have led to the development of full scale projects, leading to the creation of many thousands of jobs in those countries."

The Irish demonstration project is expected to create up to 150 jobs during its construction phase.

Gaelectric CEO Brendan McGrath said: "We are confident that the project will attract leading industry players to the offshore Irish market and will be an important step towards realising the vast potential for renewable generation from the Irish Sea."

The firms have been asking Ireland Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to extend the feed-in tariff for wave and tidal energy to offshore wind research and development projects to be capped at 30MW.

The initiative is likely to revive the offshore wind energy sector in Ireland, which had been stagnant for the last 14 years.

The government’s Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan published in 2014 had indicated the country to have a potential power generation capacity for up to 10,000MW from offshore wind.