Codling Wind Park reveals final design of project and number of turbines to be constructed

Source: 4/5/2024, Location: Europe

Wicklow project announces further 25% reduction in turbine number
Project will now have maximum of 75 as opposed to 100 turbines
Project will deliver Community Benefit Fund of up to €200m to local communities
Codling will have a generating capacity of 1,300 MW – generating clean energy to power one million Irish homes
Critical energy infrastructure project will deliver a quarter of Ireland’s 2030 offshore wind target
Planning application for project to be submitted in summer 2024

Ireland’s largest Phase One[1] offshore wind project, Codling Wind Park, which will be located off the County Wicklow coast, has confirmed a further 25% reduction in the number of turbines which will be required to deliver the project.

Previously it had been had thought around 100 turbines would need to be constructed but announcing the details of the project’s final design and layout today the project confirmed a maximum of 75 and a minimum of 60 turbines would now be required.

The minimum proposed turbine tip height has also been set at 288 metres or a maximum of 314 metres.

Although this is a significant reduction in wind turbines, the development will still generate 1,300 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity, enough to power over one million Irish homes[2].

According to the CSO this amounts to almost half (48%) of all permanent dwellings in Ireland.

While the original estimate for the number of turbines required had been put at around 440, huge advances in wind turbine technology, and more efficient turbine models combined with a more detailed understanding of the wind farm site, means a maximum of 75 turbines – a reduction of 83% – will now be required.

The project, which will be located approximately 13 to 22 kilometres off the Co. Wicklow coast between Greystones and Wicklow Town is a 50/50 joint venture between Fred. Olsen Seawind and EDF Renewables.

When operational, it will help Ireland meet over 26% of its 2030 grid connected offshore wind targets while also helping the country achieve its target of generating 80% of its electricity from renewable energy by the same year.

The new details about the project were announced ahead of a third and final series of public engagements which will be taking place this month. The series will include a number of exhibitions and dedicated information clinics in Wicklow Library, at a pop-up shop in Greystones and in Sandymount Community Centre.

The exhibitions and information clinics will provide members of the public as well as elected representatives with further details on the design and layout as well details on the various onshore and offshore environmental, technical and feasibility surveys which have been carried out as part of the project. Virtual reality headsets will also be available to attendees, enabling them to view the project from a variety of perspectives.

Project Director Scott Sutherland said everyone at Codling Wind Park was looking forward to sharing details of the final design with members of the local communities and other stakeholders ahead of submitting the planning application for the project.

“This is one of the largest energy infrastructure investments ever seen in Ireland and a tremendously exciting one to work on. As well as supplying over a quarter of Ireland’s 2030 offshore wind target, Codling Wind Park will support Irish energy independence, help stabilise the cost of electricity for Irish consumers and will displace 1.7 million tonnes of carbon[3]. It will also help the country realise its enormous potential to become a world leader in offshore wind.”

“Through various rounds of public consultation, we have listened to the people of Wicklow, Ringsend and Poolbeg and incorporated their feedback into the design where possible. The reduction and layout of the reduced number of turbines was always key in that regard.”

“The design of the project has been informed by a range of inputs including geophysical, aerial and vessel-based surveys – some going back over 15 years – which have all fed into an extremely detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report which forms a critical part of the planning application. Our aim at all times has been to protect the environment and mitigate any potential impacts as well as proactively enhancing it where possible.”

As well as details of the turbine numbers and layout, Community Benefit Fund (CBF) of up to €200m will be established as part of the project to fund local community-based projects.

The aim of the fund, which will be administered by an experienced and independent Fund Administrator, as part of the Offshore Renewable Energy Support Scheme (ORESS), is to deliver economic, environmental, social, and cultural benefits to local community groups over a twenty-year period.

Mr Sutherland said that the €10m per year Fund, one of the biggest anywhere in the world, would not become available until after the project had received planning and begun construction, he urged community groups to consider what projects or initiatives they would like to benefit from the fund.

“The Community Benefit Fund for this project will create lasting legacies for local communities near the project over the next 20 years. While the fund will not become operational until the construction phase of the project, we believe it’s very important for clubs, groups, and voluntary organisations to start their own preparation and planning, so they are fund-ready when the time comes.”

“The key thing to remember is that while Codling will provide the funding, the community will decide how it is spent. We want the community to start thinking now about what they will do with the funds”.

When developed, Codling Wind Park will be Ireland’s largest offshore wind farm. The project is expected to create over 1,000 jobs in the construction phase and 75 new, long-term jobs associated with its proposed Operations and Maintenance Base.

Subject to it receiving planning permission and all other necessary permits and consents being received, Codling Wind Park could begin construction in 2026-27. Construction is expected to take two to three years to complete.

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