Arklow Bank Wind Park

  • Category: Renewable
  • Energy type: Offshore wind
  • Project type: Project

SSE is progressing the development of Arklow Bank Wind Park located off the coast of Arklow, Co. Wicklow. Arklow Bank Wind Park has a minimum consented capacity of 520MW.

The project is the second phase of development at Arklow Bank. The 25.2MW Arklow Bank Phase 1, which is owned and operated by GE Energy, was co-developed in June 2004 by Airtricity and GE Energy as a demonstrator project and remains the first and only operational offshore wind farm in Ireland.

Now, SSE is proposing to invest €1-2bn in capex to develop Arklow Bank Wind Park to its full potential.

The Arklow Bank project will be capable of generating around 1.75TWh of renewable electricity annually – enough green energy to power 420,000 homes and offset 640,000t/CO2 annually^.

^Total annual TWh, homes and data centres powered quoted based on installed capacity, typical load factor of 40%, and typical annual consumption (4,200kWh); 50MW data centre demand assumes 75% load requirement. *Quoted CO2 emissions abated based on Average CO2 Emissions (t/MWh) in 2016 in the All-Island Single Electricity Market, and published by the CRU in its Fuel Mix Disclosure and CO2 Emissions for 2016, October 2017.

Arklow Bank – ready and uniquely placed to meet Ireland’s power demand

SSE’s Arklow Bank foreshore lease area is situated 13 km offshore the Co. Wicklow coastline, to the east of Arklow, and covers an area approximately 27km long and 2.5km wide.

Arklow Bank is a shallow water sandbank in the Irish Sea, making SSE’s foreshore lease area ideally suited to the efficient development of offshore energy infrastructure.

SSE’s existing foreshore lease provides consent for up to 200 wind turbines with a minimum total installed capacity of 520MW. However, advances in turbine technology over the past 15 years mean that the maximum installed capacity can be achieved through the development and installation of around 100 turbines in the same foreshore lease area. The location of Arklow Bank Wind Park close to the coastline minimises subsea cable connection distances. The project will require less grid infrastructure than equivalent onshore energy developments of matching scale to bring power via undersea cable to strategically located existing substations and to where it’s needed most – including the East Coast’s large demand centre.

Offshore wind powering Ireland’s maritime sector and ports

Offshore wind energy can be an enabler to unlock new infrastructure investment in Ireland’s ports and maritime businesses. Irish ports are important nodes where future renewable and offshore energy projects could be based to stimulate new employment and investment opportunities.

Growth in a burgeoning offshore wind energy sector will not only maximise regional economic benefits and create local sustainable jobs, it can also unlock focused community participation in the sector, particularly around port towns. Offshore wind energy can create industry sub-sectors delivering output and jobs across overlapping skill sets – from new roles in engineering operation and maintenance (O&M) and offshore turbine servicing to new opportunities for existing maritime businesses to provide supply chain services to the offshore energy industry.

SSE estimates that a development of the scale of Arklow Bank Wind Park could lead to the creation of around 60 sustaining jobs in (O&M) work. Typically, this could involve a range of companies within the O&M supply chain, including vessel services, water and fuel, technical inputs, and loading and unloading of project cargoes.