Oriel to seek planning permission for wind farm off Louth coast to generate enough electricity to power 300,000 homes

The application will go directly to An Bord Pleanála on Friday

The developers of what could become the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in Ireland, Oriel Windfarm in the North Irish Sea, are to lodge a planning application with An Bord Pleanála this week.

The wind farm is planned for off the Co Louth coast and will comprise of 25 wind turbines, 22km offshore, with a combined generating capacity of up to 375 megawatts (MW), equivalent to the power needed for some 300,000 homes. It is understood it involves an investment of a total €1 billion.

The planning application, which is being lodged directly with An Bord Pleanála, includes the construction of electricity substations as well as submarine and underground cables. It is being developed by JERA Nex through its subsidiary Parkwind and ESB.

“This is a hugely significant moment, not just for Oriel and for the Northeast region, but for the entire Irish energy sector and the wider Irish economy,” said Garrett Connell, Parkwind country manager for Ireland.


“We have been working on making Oriel wind farm a reality for nearly 20 years and a huge amount of work has been completed to get to this key project milestone ... we have engaged and consulted with local communities and other stakeholders on many occasions, and we would encourage them to participate in this planning process,” he added.

If planning is granted, construction could begin in 2026, with it potentially becoming operational in 2028. Based on these timelines, Oriel would become Ireland’s first operational commercial-scale offshore wind farm.

While Oriel did not secure a State-subsidised contract in last year’s Offshore Renewable Energy Support Scheme auction, this did not affect the project, as electricity generated by it will be sold into the Irish electricity market.

“Subject to planning permission, Oriel Windfarm will have a significant impact in helping to meet Ireland’s target of having 80 per cent of its electricity generated by renewable sources by 2030,” said ESB investment manager Conor Martin.

Once lodged on Friday, the planning application including an environmental impact assessment and a Natura impact statement will be available on their website.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times