The UK Crown Estate has awarded development rights for three offshore renewable energy sites in Northern Ireland's coastal waters.
Combined, the projects could deliver 800MW of electricity; they consist of a 600MW offshore wind farm off the coast of County Down and two 100MW tidal stream projects off the coast of County Antrim.
First Flight Wind, a joint venture between Dong Energy and RES-B9 (NI) Offshore Wind, will develop the wind farm, while Tidal Ventures, comprising penHydro Group and Ireland's Bord Gáis Energy, will work on a tidal project near Torr Head.
DP Marine Energy, along with Belgian marine engineering company DEME Blue Energy, will develop the second tidal stream energy project off Fair Head.
Crown Estate Energy and Infrastructure director Rob Hastings said: "We're very pleased to achieve this important milestone, and will continue to work closely with Northern Ireland Executive and developers to progress projects and attract investment, with the aim of helping meet Northern Ireland's targets on renewable energy production."
Northern Ireland energy minister Arlene Foster added: "The development of offshore renewables is an excellent opportunity for Northern Ireland in so many ways: energy security and diversity; climate change mitigation; a contribution to the Executive's 2020 targets and the business supply chain opportunities for local companies over the next few years as these projects come on stream."
The Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group chairman Gary Connolly said: "With the first ever commercial scale tidal device already being located at Strangford Narrows and huge potential for offshore wind, Northern Ireland is fast becoming a major centre for offshore renewable technology."
Image: The three offshore renewable energy projects could deliver 800MW of electricity. Photo: courtesy of Crown Estate.