The Sceirde Rocks Windfarm is the first commercial-scale offshore wind project on Ireland’s west coast targeting completion by 2030.
The 450 MW windfarm is being developed by Irish and Gaeltacht-based Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta (FST), a joint venture owned by global offshore wind developer Corio Generation and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.
Located near Carna in County Galway, the windfarm would be one of the largest infrastructure projects the region has ever seen, if fully realised – providing enough electricity for more than 350,000 homes on completion.
The windfarm was designated as one of seven ‘Relevant Status’ developments by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, placing it among the ‘Phase One’ wave of large-scale Irish offshore wind projects.
Séamus McCabe, Senior Development Director at Corio Generation, speaking at this week’s WindEnergy Ireland’s 2022 Offshore Wind Conference in Dublin – which is sponsored by Corio Generation – said he was “delighted to see Ireland take full advantage of pioneering advances in offshore wind technology”.
“Ireland has made a bold and ambitious commitment to deliver 7 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. We are fully behind this vision and determined to work closely with local communities and government to ensure Sceirde Rocks makes a critical contribution towards this target as quickly as possible,” he said.
“Offshore wind offers a vital new source of clean, affordable and homegrown electricity, reducing Ireland’s reliance on fossil fuels and addressing climate change. If the Sceirde Rocks Windfarm is awarded planning permission, it could provide significant community investment and employment opportunities and, over the long-term, help to lower energy bills and offer energy security.”
In June 2022, the developer applied for a Maritime Area Consent, which would pave the way for Sceirde Rocks to compete in Ireland’s first Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme, which opens early next year.
Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta has been consulting with the local fishing community and, between June and September, completed a geophysical survey of the local marine area to support project design and planning. This survey maps the seabed using equipment such as sonar and echo sounders.
In line with the requirements of the proposed Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme, the Sceirde Rocks project would lead to the establishment a Community Benefit Fund. Once the project becomes operational, the multi-million-euro fund will be available to groups in South West Connemara over a 15-year period, to support a range of sustainable community initiatives.
Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta was acquired by the Green Investment Group (GIG) in September 2021 and is now managed by Corio Generation, which was established as a specialist offshore wind business by GIG in April 2022.