Oriel Windfarm and Gaelectric have agreed to co-develop an offshore wind farm in the north Irish Sea, following the development of a €80M (£57.5M) demonstration project.
The North Irish Sea Array (NISA) Offshore Demonstration Project will entail the development of a new research and development hub for offshore wind energy.
The project will see international companies use the Irish Sea as a testing ground for new innovations in offshore wind energy technology, providing the opportunity to test turbines, cables and foundations under full operating conditions.
Brendan McGrath, CEO of Gaelectric, said: “Offshore wind speeds, relatively shallow water depth and favourable sea bed conditions, make the Irish Sea an ideal location for offshore wind projects and as a testing ground for offshore wind technologies. The presence of a number of established ports on the east coast of Ireland is also a factor which will help attract investment to Ireland.
“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.”
NISA has the potential to produce up to 870MW of wind energy from the Irish Sea, while the demonstration project will generate 15MW of energy.
NISA will be the first major offshore renewable energy project to be developed in the Irish Sea since the construction of the Arklow Bank Wind Farm by GE Electricity in 2001.