Over the course of 2019 and 2020 ESB and Equinor undertook an extensive site selection process for the entire coast of Ireland to identify potentially suitable sites for developing offshore wind farms.
The process involved preliminary assessments of both environmental and technical aspects with consideration for the various stakeholders and marine users who could potentially be impacted by both site investigation works and the ultimate development of the wind farm.
The Celtic Offshore Wind project is comprised of two phases, namely Celtic One Offshore Wind, a fixed foundation project and Celtic Two Offshore Wind, a floating foundation project.
The project will have a combined potential output of circa. 1 GW (subject to change following engagement with the Transmission System Operator).
The entirety of the Celtic One Offshore Wind area of search is located within the 12 nautical mile (nm) limit.
Celtic One Offshore Wind Farm is one of ESB-Equinor's proposed development projects. This site is located approximately 8km south of Ballycotton off the coastline of East Cork. The ultimate site will be refined over time and it is anticipated that the final windfarm area is likely to be in the order of 120km2 which is approximately 45% of the overall turbine array study area (subject to detailed layout / energy analysis).The expected capacity output of the project will be approximately 600MW which is enough energy to power up to 600,000 homes based on the projected wind resource. This project is being developed as a deep water fixed foundation offshore windfarm for delivery by 2030 as it is expected that ongoing developments in design, manufacture, transport and installation of fixed foundations will allow developments in water depths up to 80m whilst maintaining competitive cost advantage against floating wind platforms in this time period.
Celtic Two Offshore Wind Farm will be the second phase development for ESB and Equinor in the Celtic Sea, following the completion of Celtic One Offshore Wind Farm. This site is located approximately 27km south of Ballycotton and beyond the 12 nautical mile limit. Within the terms of the current legislation a foreshore licence cannot be sought for any survey works within this area. However, it is the intention of the partnership to seek consent for investigative surveys once the Marine Planning and Development Management (MPDM) Bill is enacted. Given that water depths are 80 - 90m within this part of the Celtic Sea the project is being designed as a floating offshore windfarm. Floating offshore wind (FOW) is a fast-maturing generation technology and is moving progressively and steadily towards a real commercial opportunity which could unlock the significant potential in Irelands deeper offshore areas. Equinor is a global leader in the development of floating offshore wind having successfully constructed Hywind Scotland, the world's first commercial floating wind farm located off the coast of Peterhead in Scotland.
In December 2020, ESB and Equinor submitted a Foreshore License application to the
Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
The grant of a Foreshore license will convey the right to undertake preliminary survey work and
site investigation studies for what could be the location of the Celtic Offshore Wind farm.
Such site investigation studies relate to the potential turbine array site, cable corridor and cable landfall areas, respectively. The results of the proposed survey work, in conjunction with other desktop studies will assist in determining the feasibility of developing an offshore wind farm at this location.
The survey work will be used to inform the optimal area for the wind farm within the study site and will also provide baseline data for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Process. Should the site be deemed suitable for an offshore windfarm, ESB and Equinor aim to seek planning permission for the project at the appropriate time under the terms of the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill which is due to be enacted in 2021.
A link to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage application webpage for this project will be posted on this page as soon as it is available.
The application documents submitted to the Department will also be posted on this page when the application is formally accepted by the Department.