SSE Renewables gets planning permission for Arklow Bank Phase 2

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 30/05/2022 SSE Renewables

An Bord Pleanála, Ireland's national independent planning body, has granted planning permission to SSE Renewables to develop the onshore grid infrastructure necessary to connect the
Arklow Bank Phase 2 wind farm to Ireland’s electricity transmission grid.

In its planning decision issued to SSE Renewables through its subsidiary Sure Partners Limited, An Bord Pleanála has approved the development of a 220kV substation at Avoca River Business Park in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, with an associated connection from the new substation to the existing national transmission network.

The consented development also includes an underground cable route and associated infrastructure connecting the substation to the landfall point at Johnstown North, Arklow, where it will meet the planned subsea offshore cables connecting to the wind farm.

The consent comes just ahead of the upcoming application by SSE Renewables to the Irish Government for a Maritime Area Consent (MAC) to allow it to proceed to apply for planning permission for the project’s offshore infrastructure including offshore wind turbines, offshore substation platforms, and subsea cables.

Arklow Bank lease area is situated 13 km off the Co. Wicklow coastline, to the east of Arklow, and covers an area approximately 27 km long and 2.5k m wide. It is located nearby the GE-owned Phase One project which consists of seven turbines, with an overall capacity of 25.2 MW. It started operations in 2004.

SSE Renewables' anticipates that
Arklow Bank Phase 2 will require an investment of up to €2.5 billion and, under current planning timelines, is expected to deliver first power in 2028 and completion in 2029, subject to a final investment decision. The developers are targeting delivery of up to 800MW of installed offshore wind energy under the Irish Government’s new Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Act process. It has the potential to power almost 850,000 homes each year.

Kaj Christiansen, Arklow Bank Development Manager at SSE Renewables, said: “We’re delighted to have received this decision from An Bord Pleanála, and to have achieved this critical milestone in the development of the Arklow Bank Wind Park, Phase 2.  This consent is the culmination of almost three years of work by members of our project team and our consultants, ARUP.

“This is the first ever planning decision for any component of an offshore wind farm of scale in Ireland. It marks a significant step forward for the country, for our planning authorities, and for industry as we work collaboratively to deliver offshore wind in Ireland at scale. The decision also brings SSE Renewables a step closer in delivering the next phase of Arklow Bank Wind Park, and our ambition to unlock investment, deliver jobs and local community benefits, and critically help achieve Ireland’s climate action targets by 2030.”

SSE Renewables also revealed that it has been granted a Foreshore License by the Irish Government to enable it to commence key maritime site survey investigations. The survey works are expected to commence in May and aim to provide the Arklow Bank project team with a better understanding of the offshore site conditions. It is intended the results of the survey will help optimise the overall design of the wind farm.

The survey activities will be conducted by the DEME vessel
Neptune and are planned to be completed by the end of August 2022, subject to weather.

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