Irish-Belgian team to build Ireland’s first commercial offshore wind farm

4 Oct 2017

Offshore windfarm under construction. Image: Parkwind

Ireland’s first commercial offshore wind farm has received investment from Belgian windfarm developer, Parkwind.

The people behind Ireland’s first offshore wind farm, Oriel Wind Farm, have received a major boost following a “significant investment” from the Belgian windfarm developer Parkwind.

The 330MW wind farm is expected to be built off the coast of Co Louth in the Irish Sea and will take approximately three years to construct.

Once up and running, it will be the largest source of renewable energy in Ireland and could provide up to 250,000 homes with power.

In a statement, Parkwind said that Ireland has a vast offshore wind energy potential that it hopes to be a part of in the coming decade.

Oriel Wind Farm’s founder Brian Britton said that, until this recent partnership with Parkwind, the site had been sought after by a number of other international organisations.

“In our search for a strategic partner, several international offshore wind players were interested in acquiring a stake in Oriel Wind Farm,” he said.

“We believe that Parkwind can bring in the necessary knowledge and pioneering spirit to bring this project to a successful end.”

Help for Irish Government

Parkwind also added that it believes it can support the Irish Government in establishing the Irish offshore wind industry.

Oriel’s project director Peter Caluwaerts said: “We are confident we can play a vital role for the emerging Irish offshore wind industry. It is our ambition to finalise the construction of the Oriel Wind Farm in 2020, thus assisting Ireland in reaching its 2020 renewable energy targets.”

Over the past few years, Parkwind has built three offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 550MW in the North Sea for the Belgian market.

Reports from the last two years for Ireland have shown little hope of the country meeting its reduced emissions targets set out by the EU.

In one such report last year, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland said that between 200MW and 250MW of wind capacity will need to be installed across the country each year by 2020 to contribute sufficient amounts of clean energy to meet our target.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic