The announcement was made a week after the Climate Action Plan was launched.
Last week, on 17 June, the Government published the Climate Action Plan which outlined the ways in which Ireland plans to step up its commitments to tackling climate disruption in key sectors such as electricity, transport, built environment, industry and agriculture.
One target that was set in the Climate Action Plan was for Ireland to begin harvesting 3.5GW of offshore wind energy in the next decade, so that by 2030, 70pc of the country’s electricity will be generated from renewable sources.
Following this news, Oriel Windfarm, a project in development stage with backing from ESB and Parkwind, announced that it was set to commence offshore site surveys along 22km of Dundalk’s coastline.
The team behind Oriel said that the Climate Action Plan “highlights the need to advance on these works”.
Project director Peter Caluwaerts explained what some of these surveys would entail: “A buoy containing equipment that will measure the specific wind data of the Oriel offshore site for a year will be deployed in August this year. The soil investigation campaign is also due to start in August.”
These investigations will record specific wind data of the offshore site and data on the seabed conditions of the future site, needed mainly for the engineering design of the foundations for the wind turbines.
The project, which represents a significant investment from both ESB and Parkwind, has been in development since 2003. The original investors, many of whom are local to the area, partnered with Parkwind in September 2017.
Parkwind has been developing, financing and operating offshore wind farms since the company was established in 2012. When the Oriel Windfarm is in operation, Ireland will become the second largest market for Parkwind after Belgium. The company also has a number of significant projects in Germany and France.
ESB has also previously been involved in initiatives to move towards renewable energy. In 2018, the 92-year-old State-owned electricity company acquired a 12.5pc stake in Galloper offshore wind farm, which is located on the east coast of England. On 17 June, it was also announced that ESB was close to agreeing on a joint venture with Irish forestry company Coillte, which could generate enough energy to power 500,000 homes.