11 Jan 2000 – Ireland’s Minister for Marine and Natural Resources announced plans today for an €640m offshore wind farm to be built in the Irish Sea capable of generating 520 MW – enough to supply ten per cent of his country’s electricity needs.

Speaking on the Irish radio station RTE, Minister Frank Fahey said the station, which would be about seven km (four miles) offshore at its nearest point, should significantly reduce Ireland’s emissions of harmful carbon dioxide gas.

An application to build the facility was lodged last summer by private energy group Eirtricity. It plans to erect the wind turbines on sandbanks off County Wicklow on Ireland’s east coast.

The project will be built in four phases with Phase 1 will be built during the weather window of 2002 and will amount to 60 MW. The application was supported by the results of a year-long EIS survey, highlighting the use of indigenous wind energy resources. Phase 1 is expected to create approximately 500 jobs.

Dr. Eddie O’Connor, Managing Director of Eirtricity said, “The social benefit of avoided pollution is in the region of €218m. The avoided CO2 alone will be in the order of 1.1 million tons per year. A move towards green electricity generation is vital to the survival of our environment, to say nothing of the contribution to Ireland’s commitments under the Kyoto treaty”.