SSE seeks final consent for €2bn Irish wind farm

SSE plc, the Perth-based electricity infrastructure giant, announced it is submitting an offshore planning consent application to Ireland’s planning authority An Bord Pleanála this week for the offshore infrastructure required for its proposed Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 project in the Irish Sea.

The application marks the third and final planning consent required to move to the construction stage of the €2 billion project.

Subject to planning consent and a final investment decision by SSE, construction of Arklow Bank 2 could commence as early as 2026 with first energy generated by 2029.

Arklow Bank 2 is expected to deliver an overall national economic benefit to Ireland of up to €800 million — around €400 million of which will be local to the Wicklow and Wexford region — while supporting around 2,300 direct and indirect jobs throughout its delivery and operational lifetime.

“This is the latest and most significant milestone in the delivery of SSE’s flagship Irish offshore wind farm project, which is being developed off the coasts of Wicklow and North Wexford,” said SSE.

The Maritime Area Planning Application is being submitted by Sure Partners Ltd. (SPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of SSE Plc under SSE Renewables.

“If consented and brought forward for construction, the up to 800MW Arklow Bank 2 project would play a crucial role in driving progress towards a cleaner and more secure homegrown energy system for Ireland,” said SSE.

“Once operational, the offshore wind farm would be capable of producing enough renewable energy to displace over 800,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions annually while powering the equivalent of around 850,000 homes each year.

“Submission of an offshore planning consent application for the Arklow Bank 2 project is the culmination of almost seven years’ development work by leading renewable energy developer, owner, and operator, SSE Renewables.

“This recent phase of development builds on the original vision for offshore wind generation at Arklow Bank, which dates to 2003 when the original 25MW offshore project was first commissioned at the site.

“Today, Arklow Bank 2 is one of the most advanced offshore wind projects in Ireland, having already secured planning consent for the development of a state-of-the-art operations and maintenance base at Arklow Harbour, out of which around 80 full-time employees would be based, as well as consent for the development of onshore cabling and a substation that would connect the project to Ireland’s national grid.

“This latest application marks the third and final planning consent required to move to the construction stage of the project.”

James O’Hara, Arklow Bank Project Director at SSE Renewables, said: “Our team of over 50 renewable energy professionals supported by a dedicated local supply chain has been working hard to deliver SSE’s flagship Irish offshore wind farm – Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 – for almost seven years now.

“In doing so, we’re fulfilling the pioneering vision of delivering commercial scale offshore wind at Arklow Bank which dates back almost 20 years to when the first seven turbines were installed at the site and became Ireland’s first and only operational offshore wind farm.

“Now, we’re pleased to announce we’re submitting what we believe is a robust and compelling planning application to deliver a world class renewable energy asset at Arklow Bank using the very latest offshore technology that can generate the additional green energy Ireland needs to meet 2030 renewable energy targets in a sustainable and environmentally sensitive manner.

“Arklow Bank is a unique and well-advanced project that enjoys widespread public and stakeholder support, especially among communities in south Wicklow and north Wexford.

“By delivering on the Arklow Bank vision we can make a significant contribution to climate action while bringing enormous national and regional socio-economic benefits such as up to €800m economic investment, hundreds of jobs and a multi-million Euro Community Benefit Fund.”