DETALS of Energia’s plan to build turbines around 10kms offshore of Co Wexford were unveiled at the February New Ross Municipal District meeting.
n addition to the North Celtic Sea project, Energia Renewables is also progressing the South Irish Sea offshore project off the coasts of Wexford and Wicklow.
The seabed surveys for this project are nearing completion.
Energia Offshore Renewables Manager, Eoin McPartland off shore wind turbines, subsea cables and an electricity sub station may all be erected and laid off the coast.
He said there would be a lot of jobs in maintaining the turbines and ensuring the supply runs smoothly over their 35 year lifespan.
“Between 70 and 100 jobs will be associated with that. This is about to go out for consultation. We are an Irish company and we want to see the benefit for Ireland.”
He said surveys concerning mammals and birds have been carried out, adding that he expects that planning permission will be sought by Energia next year.
Mr McPartland said Energia has been engaging with the fishing community over the past two years. “It’s about keeping the communication open to understand how we can stay out of their way.”
The project is in keeping with the government’s 2030, adding that Energia anticipates that the total cost of the project will run to around €2 billion.
“Ports and grids will need to be upgraded. It’s unprecedented in terms of the level of infrastructure that this requires to make the project successful. Obviously there will be a huge trickle down locally with 800 jobs for its construction and some of these will be Irish jobs, but mainly the expertise isn’t in Ireland yet.”
He said the big long term opportunity is in turbine engineering and marine technician jobs, while adding that there would be a significant community benefit fund.
This sum would run to around €4.5m per year.
An Energia spokesperson in attendance said there have been meetings with local groups along the coast, adding that public exhibitions about the project will take place in communities in the line of sight of the project.
“People are very understanding. This is something we have not seen before in Ireland.
“There are very long timeframes and it’s difficult for people to understand why it takes so long. I will be meeting with community groups, TDs, schools etc.”
New Ross Municipal District cathaoirleach Cllr Michael Sheehan described the project as very ambitious.
“I wish you well with it. I think the stakeholders buy in is key on this one. You have done work in the community and a lot of people in New Ross and district work with Energia.”
Cllr Pat Barden asked if the grid can contain all of the additional electricity that would be created by the wind farm.
Mr MacPartland said if successful with the venture, Energia would connect into either Great Island or a sub station close to the line.
“There are lots of projects, not just SSE and us, but there are projects that are competing for sea space in a congested area.”
The meeting heard the turbines would be up to 320 metres high and would be located around 10kms from the shore.