New multi-bil­lion pound wind farms planned for the Ir­ish Sea

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Analysis & Company Report - BY GAVIN MCLOUGH­LIN

THE ESB is plot­ting a ma­jor drive into off­shore wind farm con­struc­tion that is likely to run into bil­lions of euro.

The Repub­lic’s state-owned elec­tric­ity com­pany has put out a ten­der seek­ing “the pro­vi­sion of re­new­able en­ergy ma­rine ser­vices re­lated to off­shore wind farms”.

It says it is plan­ning to de­velop or ac­quire the wind farms from next year, through a pipeline of projects go­ing through the plan­ning process.

In­di­vid­ual projects are ex­pected to range be­tween 200 megawatts and 500 megawatts in size, though some could be big­ger. The plan is to lo­cate the farms in the Ir­ish Sea.

There is only one off­shore wind farm con­structed in the Repub­lic — the Ark­low bank project off the coast of Wick­low.

In­dus­try sources said the con- struc­tion cost per megawatt for an off­shore wind farm is now in the re­gion of €2m (£1.84m), hav­ing fallen in re­cent years. That means a 200-megawatt project would cost around €400m (£368m) and a 500-megawatt project would cost around €1bn (£920m).

It’s likely that the ESB would en­ter into part­ner­ships to build the farms rather than fund­ing the whole cost it­self. The ten­der doc­u­ments en­vis­age that joint ventures may be en­tered into.

Po­ten­tial con­struc­tion part­ners would in­clude the likes of Dan­ish com­pany Dong En­ergy or Ja­pan’s Mit­subishi, while in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors may pro­vide fi­nan­cial backing.

“Off­shore tech­nolo­gies are now well es­tab­lished and the cost of elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion from th­ese sources con­tin­ues to de­cline. We are work­ing on early and mid­stage devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in Ire­land and the UK,” the ESB said.

The ESB is plan­ning to move into off­shore wind farm con­struc­tion

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