First Flight Wind Scales Back Its Offshore Wind Project

First Flight Wind has scaled back its offshore wind project in Northern Ireland, due to concerns related to shipping and commercial fisheries

First Flight Wind Scales Back Its Offshore Wind Project

First Flight Wind, a consortium comprising B9 Energy, DONG Energy and Renewable Energy Systems Ltd (RES), initially planned to develop a 600MW offshore wind farm in the waters off the coast of County Down, Northern Ireland. Now, the consortium has determined that a project of 300 – 400 MW is best able to minimise potential impacts on some existing activities including shipping and commercial fisheries.

Michael Harper from First Flight Wind commented: “It has always been our intention to develop an offshore project that works alongside other marine users such as shipping and fishing. Throughout the process we are seeking to take into account the concerns of local stakeholders as we consider where to locate the project and how to design it.”

“As a result we have identified a central section of the larger zone where we shall now focus our attention and we have determined that the preferred target capacity for delivery by 2020 to be 300-400 MW. Generating potentially more than 10% of Northern Ireland’s electricity requirements, this capacity would help the Executive to reach its 2020 renewable electricity target and create significant economic opportunities for local companies.”

“Our engagement with key shipping stakeholders has highlighted concerns about placing a project close to the Warrenpoint-Heysham route, which we will now seek to avoid. In addition, we recognise that coast of Co. Down hosts some very important Nephrops fisheries. We are therefore proposing to limit where possible, encroachment on such key Nephrops fishing grounds. These issues along with all the other issues we have identified through the recent offshore scoping consultation will be addressed fully within our environmental impact assessment.”

“We will continue to work towards further refining where we could locate a 300-400MW project and will continue to share this information with our stakeholders.” 

Press release, June 17, 2014; Image: First Flight Wind