Ocean Winds and Bord na Móna are proposing the development of an offshore wind farm located in the Celtic Sea, off the coast of counties Waterford and Wexford. The proposed wind farm array study area is located 9km from the Saltee Islands and 13.5km from mainland Wexford.
The proposed offshore wind development will be known as Celtic Horizon, and it is envisaged that the project could generate up to 700 Megawatts (MW) of clean renewable electricity, enough to power 657,000 Irish homes. The proposed development will also facilitate job creation, vastly reduce our reliance on imported oil and gas, and increase our security of electricity supply while helping Ireland become carbon neutral by 2050. Based on current project timelines it is envisaged that the project would be in commercial operation by 2030, with a lifespan of 25 to 30 years.
Celtic Horizon is being developed by Ocean Winds and Bord na Móna, an established global leader in the offshore renewable energy sector who has international expertise and a strong track record in developing similar projects in Scotland, France, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, U.S. and Korea.
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Ocean Winds and Bord na Móna are proposing the development of an offshore wind farm located in the Celtic Sea, off the coast of counties Waterford and Wexford. We aim to deliver Celtic Horizon by 2030. Over the coming years, we will undertake site investigations to inform us in making an application to An Bórd Pleanála for planning consent and between the site investigations and planning application we will participate in a number of processes led by the Irish Government.
The project is at an early stage of development, with a foreshore licence application submitted to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) on the 3rd June 2021. This Foreshore Licence is the permit required to conduct surveys and investigations of the marine area. If granted, we will then start conducting feasibility and environmental studies to further advance the project.
We will undertake extensive public consultation before and during the surveys and investigations to further inform our project team with feedback and knowledge from the local community and stakeholders.
Alongside public consultation and environmental studies, Ocean Winds and Bord na Móna will apply to the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA) for Maritime Area Consent (MAC) for the leasing of a marine estate area.
Ocean Winds (OW) is the result of a 2019 Joint Venture between EDP Renewables (EDPR) and ENGIE, two global leaders in the renewable and offshore energy industry. With over a decade’s experience in the offshore sector, and the combined expertise of both EDPR and ENGIE, Ocean Winds will bring a history of project deliverability and cost reduction to the emerging Irish offshore wind industry.
When EDPR and ENGIE combined their offshore wind assets and project pipeline to create OW in 2019, the company had a total of 1.5 GW under construction and 4.0 GW under development; OW has been adding rapidly to that portfolio and is now on a trajectory to reach the 2025 target of 5 to 7 GW of projects in operation, or construction, and 5 to 10 GW under advanced development. In 2022, OW’s offshore wind gross capacity already operating, contracted or with grid connection rights granted reaches 11.2 GW.
OW, headquartered in Madrid, is currently present in 8 countries, and primarily targets markets in Europe, the United-States and selected parts of Asia, from where most of the growth is expected to come.
Discover more: www.oceanwinds.com
Bord na Móna is a renewable energy and environmental services company, focused on delivering climate solutions and sustainable energy security for Ireland. We do this through renewable power generation, recycling, waste management, peatland restoration and biodiversity conservation.
Bord na Móna, a semi-state company, was established in 1934, in response to a national energy emergency, to develop the peatlands of Ireland, provide economic benefit for midland communities, and achieve security of energy supply. Transformed for the climate crisis today, Bord na Móna has transitioned its operations and diversified its services, through its Brown-to-Green strategy, to become Ireland’s leading climate solutions company.
Bord na Móna employs approximately 1,500 people and manages a land holding of over 80,000 hectares across the midlands of Ireland. With expertise and experience across a variety of climate solutions, including renewables, energy, carbon storage and sequestration and waste management, through various initiatives, including the Accelerate Green Programme, Bord na Móna is supporting local communities and businesses with Ireland’s transition to a green economy.
With a strategic ten-year ambition to invest over €1.6bn in renewable energy infrastructure and generating assets, including wind, solar, hydrogen, biomass and biogas, Bord na Móna is developing sustainable solutions that will lead Ireland towards a climate neutral future and help ensure the State delivers on its commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
Discover more: www.bordnamona.ie
Ireland has a unique opportunity to develop a substantial and economically viable offshore wind industry with a maritime area approximately seven times its landmass, as well as optimum geographic and climatic conditions. The Irish Government has indicated its intention to reach the ambitious target of achieving 5GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030.
OW is interested in playing a part in enabling Ireland to achieve its 2030 and wider Net Zero ambitions through Celtic Horizon. We believe that our background, expertise, strength and experience in delivering offshore wind projects will support the Irish economy to make best use of one of its most abundant resources.
Ocean Winds conducted initial site selection exercise to identify the optimal site for the development of the Celtic Horizon project. The chosen site, off the coast of Wexford and Waterford, was selected for several reasons, including:
– Grid Capacity
– Proximity to the demand
– Environmental Sensitivity
– Wind Resource
– Fishing Density
– Water Depth
A combination of geophysical, geotechnical, metocean and environmental studies will be carried out to assess to feasibility of the proposed site. The surveys will investigate the marine environment and the seabed to identify any technical and environmental constraints and determine the suitability of the site to ensure the safety and performance of the proposed development.
Environmental studies, including ecological and archaeological surveys, will also form part of determining the sites suitability. The data gathered through these surveys will feed into the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process which will require the project team to identify any potential impacts on the receiving environment and if identified, implement appropriate mitigation measures in place. An Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) will be prepared and submitted to the Planning Authority.
Subject to the award of a Foreshore licence expected in Q1 2023, as well as favourable weather conditions, Celtic Horizon proposes a survey works schedule that will be phased over 5 years. The timing of site investigations is dependent on several factors, including weather, tidal flows, the availability of survey vessels and crucially, a successful foreshore licence application.
Ecological studies will form a significant part of the surveys and investigations stage of Celtic Horizon. We will be required to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) as part of the planning application to the competent authority for the project. In the EIAR, we will have to demonstrate that we have a thorough understanding of the human and marine environment and cultural heritage at the proposed site, identify any possible impacts the project may have and indicate how we will mitigate against these. The planning authority will not grant development consent if they are not satisfied that a rigorous EIA was undertaken and that the project will not impede on nature conservation objectives.
The project will be located 9 km from the Saltee Islands and 13.5 km from mainland Wexford. This distance, combined with the curvature of the earth, means that we envisage that the turbines are unlikely to have a significant impact on the seascape. As part of the EIA and consultation process, OW will undertake a visual impact assessment. This assessment will also have to consider the cumulative impact of other projects and proposed projects in the area.
The first stage of the planning process is to apply for a Foreshore Licence to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH). This is the licence required to conduct surveys and site investigations in the foreshore area. A foreshore licence is not a development consent and does not award exclusive occupation of the site. A Foreshore Licence Application for Celtic Horizon was submitted in June 2021.
A Maritime Area Consent (MAC) is required for exclusive occupation of an offshore site under the Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Bill which was signed into law in December 2021. The final regulatory and consenting regimes falling out of this bill are being finalised. Under the MAP a new agency, the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA), will be established. This agency will be responsible for granting Maritime Area Consents to offshore wind developers.
It is expected that the MAP will streamline the marine planning and consenting process.
For OW, the next step will be to apply to MARA for a MAC which will be necessary to proceed to applying for the requisite consents and planning permission. The project will then be subject to the full assessment procedures by An Bord Pleanála.
The Celtic Horizon Offshore Wind Farm is committed to continuous and meaningful engagement with fishers and their representatives and to ensuring that their needs and concerns are addressed throughout all stages of development and operation of Celtic Horizon. A dedicated Fisheries Liaison Officer (FLO) has been appointed for the duration of the project to engage with the fishing community.
Ocean Winds experience to date with offshore wind developments has been that the fishing community can co-exist harmoniously with offshore wind developments and that offshore wind can offer new and diverse opportunities for the community.
Yes, a significant community benefit fund will be made available for local projects in communities closest to the proposed Celtic Horizon development. The value of the fund and the process for how it is allocated will be in line with the requirements set out in the Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS).
A number of jobs, to be determined further advance the project and its final characteristics, will be created during the construction of the proposed development and during the operation and maintenance phase of the project. Indirectly, Celtic Horizon will create supply chain opportunities for contractors, consultants and service providers throughout the development and construction of the project.
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As the project is at an early stage, the size and number of turbines has not been determined. However, based on preliminary assessments, it is envisaged that the project could generate up to 700MW of clean renewable electricity.
The typical operational life of a wind turbine is 25-30 years. However, advancements in offshore wind technology and maintenance processes could mean that new wind farm developments will outlive the typical life cycle.