The Crown Estate announces the award of development rights for three offshore renewable energy sites in Northern Ireland’s coastal waters.
This follows competitive tender processes over the last ten months that attracted significant interest from national and international renewable energy development companies.
The projects, which together could deliver 800 MW of electricity, comprise an area located off the south east coast of County Down for development of a 600 MW offshore wind farm and areas off the north east coast of County Antrim for two tidal stream projects each of up to 100 MW near to Torr Head and Fair Head.
All parties have now signed legal agreements with The Crown Estate, as it has responsibility for leasing the seabed for renewable energy in all UK waters. This will enable the companies to take their proposals forward and carry out detailed surveys and planning work before their proposals are submitted to the relevant Northern Ireland bodies for consent.
The companies who have been awarded rights to develop the offshore renewable energy opportunities in Northern Ireland are:
- First Flight Wind Limited for the 600 MW offshore wind area: a joint venture between Dong Energy of Denmark and RES-B9 (NI) Offshore Wind Limited, which combines the local wind development experience of Northern Ireland company B9 Energy with Renewable Energy Systems, part of the RES Group, an international renewable energy project developer.
- Tidal Ventures Limited for the 100 MW tidal opportunity at Torr Head:a joint venture between OpenHydro Group, a designer and manufacturer of tidal turbines, and Bord Gáis Energy one of Ireland’s leading energy providers.
- DP Marine Energy Limited with DEME Blue Energy for their 100 MW tidal stream energy project off Fair Head:this project is a consortium comprising Cork based DP Marine Energy Limited and the Belgian marine engineering company DEME Blue Energy.
Rob Hastings, Director of Energy and Infrastructure said: “I am delighted that we have today announced the successful bidders for the Northern Ireland offshore wind and tidal leasing rounds.
“We’re very pleased to achieve this important milestone, and will continue to work closely with Northern Ireland Executive and developers to progress projects and attract investment, with the aim of helping meet Northern Ireland’s targets on renewable energy production.”
Northern Ireland Energy Minister Arlene Foster MLA welcomed the news and said: “Today’s announcement by The Crown Estate represents a major milestone for Northern Ireland. I am greatly encouraged by the progress made to date to develop our offshore renewable resource and that these key companies want to invest in our waters.
“The development of offshore renewables is an excellent opportunity for Northern Ireland in so many ways – energy security and diversity; climate change mitigation; a contribution to the Executive’s 2020 targets and the business supply chain opportunities for local companies over the next few years as these projects come on stream.”
Press release, October 10, 2012; Image: The Crown Estate