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Parkwind and ESB have announced that they are partnering to develop new offshore wind farms in the Republic of Ireland.
The developers have agreed that ESB will acquire an up to 35% stake in the Oriel project. Located in the Irish Sea off the coast of Dundalk, the project will deliver an offshore wind farm with a capacity of up to 330 MW, planned to begin commercial operations in the early-2020s.
Once operational, the Oriel wind farm will generate enough capacity to cover the needs of approximately 280,000 households - most of the population in counties Louth and Meath. Oriel will furthermore contribute to the reduction of Ireland’s carbon emissions by 600,000 tonnes per annum.
In addition, Parkwind will acquire an up to 35% stake in the Clogherhead project, which involves the installation of an up to 500 MW offshore wind farm close to the Oriel site. ESB holds a foreshore license to commence site investigations.
Although the proposed sites of the two offshore wind farms are within 1km of each other, the projects will be executed as unique developments, under separate planning applications.
This partnership represents ESB's entry into the Irish offshore wind sector, which the company anticipates will account for the bulk of Ireland’s future zero carbon electricity.
It also follows a number of major projects announced in the last year intended to compensate for the deficit of offshore wind in Ireland, especially in comparison to its northern European neighbours.
In April 2018, Element Power announced that it is developing the North Irish Sea Array (NISA) offshore wind site in the Irish Sea, which has a potential capacity of up to 750 MW. In September, SSE announced plans to expand Ireland's only operational wind farm from 25 MW to over 500 MW.