Speaking at an industry event this morning at the Titanic Hotel in Belfast, Niamh Kenny, project manager for the proposed 400MW North Channel Wind floating wind project, said if it goes ahead the development could be vital for Northern Ireland.
“We are investigating two sites in the North Channel, midway between Northern Ireland and Scotland, for a range of new generation floating wind turbines,” said Ms Kenny. “The two sites would together generate 400MW, which is 13% of Northern Ireland’s energy needs.”
The two potential wind farms could be located in areas between 12km and 27km off the coasts of Counties Antrim and Down. Power from these would be wired and connected to the grid at a currently contemplated shore location.
SBM Offshore’s floating technologies are particularly well suited to the Irish Sea as they have a significantly reduced environmental impact during installation and operation compared to traditional turbines which have their foundations on the seabed.
Ms Kenny said: “We are in talks with the Northern Ireland Government, grid operator SONI, energy regulator UREGNI, Renewables NI and the Crown Estate. Significantly, we have completed our site characterization and, in consultation with DAERA, have begun a scoping exercise, which is the first step in applying for a maritime license to build offshore infrastructure.”
North Channel Wind representatives will be meeting with key stakeholders including the fishing community, local stakeholders and other marine users over the coming months to gauge responses, refine the project and build partnerships that will benefit the wider Northern Ireland community for many years to come Come.
The project would create significant opportunities for the local supply chain, including assembly of the required steel flotation devices, logistics, erection, ship services and construction.
For more information, see the project website: www.northchannelwind.com