SSE looking to develop €15m support base for Arklow windfarm

9 Jun 2021

The proposed operations and maintenance facility at the Arklow Bank Wind Park. Image: SSE Renewables

The proposed building is expected to have 80 full-time employees to help in the operation and maintenance of the Arklow windfarm.

SSE Renewables has unveiled its plans for a €15m operations and maintenance facility at Arklow Harbour.

The proposed development is part of the second phase of the Arklow Bank Wind Park project, which is looking to deliver a 520MW windfarm off the coast of Co Wicklow. The offshore windfarm is expected to be complete by 2025, with a total investment of between €1bn and €2bn.

Subject to planning permission, the new operations and maintenance facility will be based in Arklow Harbour’s south dock at a disused site known as ‘The Old Shipyard’.

SSE Renewables initially revealed plans for this Arklow base last year, saying that it would play a vital role in the day-to-day running of the offshore windfarm.

Once the windfarm is operational, the building is expected to have 80 full-time employees. Roles will include site managers, supervisors, technicians, control room operators, engineers, vessel crew, stores and admin staff.

A constructed image of the windfarm maintenance building, with a dock and boats outside it.

Image: SSE Renewables

The four-storey development in Arklow Harbour will require an expected investment of around €15m.

It has been designed to be a nearly-zero energy building and will accommodate warehousing for wind turbine components, as well as office and meeting space and staff facilities.

There are also plans for a sustainable development centre on the top floor, which could provide space for educational tours, exhibitions and events.

Outside the building, there are planned berthing and pontoon facilities for crew transfer vessels, which will transfer maintenance employees to and from the turbines on a daily basis to help operate the windfarm.

SSE Renewables is lodging a planning application with Wicklow County Council later this summer, and is now running a public consultation on the proposed development.

“This state-of-the-art building will play a crucial role in kick-starting the regeneration of Arklow Harbour,” said James O’Hara, Arklow Bank Wind Park project manager.

“I encourage the local community to share feedback on this element of the project so we can refine our plans accordingly before we seek planning approval later this year.”

SSE Renewables is one of the big developers of renewable energy in the UK and Ireland, with a portfolio of around 4GW of onshore wind, offshore wind and hydro energy.

The Scottish renewables giant is currently constructing the 3.6GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea, as well as the 1.1GW Seagreen Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Scotland.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic