Oriel progress wind farm plans

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Oriel Windfarm are edging closer to submitting a planning application for the proposed new wind farm to the east of Dundalk Bay.

n April, Oriel Windfarm applied for a Maritime Area Consent (MAC) to the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications.

Under a new planning regime for Ireland’s maritime area, which was introduced late last year, all offshore wind projects must have a MAC before they can apply for planning permission to An Bord Pleanála.

Oriel’s MAC application is an administrative step which involves an assessment of the capability of the company to develop an offshore wind farm. The assessment will be made by the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications.

A decision in relation to Oriel’s MAC application is expected to be made within the next month two months.

The proposed Oriel Windfarm, which is being developed by Parkwind and ESB, will have a generation capacity of up to 375 MW – enough electricity to power 300,000 homes. The Oriel project will significantly reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions, while also reducing the State’s reliance on imported fossil fuels, such as coal and gas. The development and operation of the project will also deliver significant local economic and community benefits to the North East region.

A spokesman for Oriel Windfarm said it is expected the company will formally apply for planning permission to build its wind farm towards the end of this year.

“Before that application is made, there will be a further round of consultation with local communities in September. Interested parties will also have an opportunity to make their views known as part of the An Bord Pleanála process.”

Separately, Oriel Windfarm’s application for a Foreshore Licence to carry out further surveys at the site of the proposed offshore wind farm is currently being assessed by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

If the licence is granted, the studies that will be carried out will include detailed assessment of the seabed, using geophysical survey equipment and geotechnical borehole drilling at each of the proposed turbine locations. Further ecological surveys and measurements of the wind, wave and currents are also planned.

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage is currently carrying out an Appropriate Assessment of the foreshore licence application, in line with European and Irish regulations.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is inviting public submissions for the purposes of conducting the Appropriate Assessment. The closing date for submissions is 5.30pm on July 14.

There is more information on the Department’s website at https://www.gov.ie/en/foreshore-notice/b8eb7-oriel-windfarm-limited-site-investigations-for-the-proposed-offshore-oriel-wind-farm/

The MAC application and the foreshore licence application both represent steps on the journey towards Oriel submitting a planning application to An Bord Pleanála.

Details of the public consultation planned for September will be advertised later in the summer. In the meantime, information on the proposed project is available at www.orielwindfarm.ie

The project also has a public information office in Dundalk Institute of Technology and anyone who would like to meet with the project team, this can be arranged through the website or by calling (01) 963 0313.



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