Green Investment Group acquires first Irish offshore wind project

Renewables investor enters Irish offshore wind market ahead of tender expected to take place next year

Ireland has just one operational offshore wind farm, SSE's 25MW Arklow Bank (above) off County Wicklow, in the country's south-east
Ireland has just one operational offshore wind farm, SSE's 25MW Arklow Bank (above) off County Wicklow, in the country's south-east

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Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) has taken on its first Irish offshore wind project with the acquisition of Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta, developer of the 400MW Skerd Rocks Skerd Rocks (400MW) Offshoreoff Carna, Galway, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details project in Galway.

Skerd Rocks is one of seven projects being ‘fast-tracked’ through a new national marine planning framework and a maritime area planning bill currently being legislated, as the Irish government aims to have 5GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. 

Fast-tracking enables developers to better prepare to secure an offtake agreement in an upcoming auction, by discussing with grid operator EirGrid how they might connect to the transmission grid.

GIG stated that “having visibility of the pathway through planning is important in progressing projects through their development phase”. It added that the bill “has been keenly awaited by energy sector stakeholders eager for the clarity needed to get going. Given the cross party support for the new bill it is anticipated that it will be adopted by both the Oireachtas (national parliament, including the president) and the Dáil (House of Representatives) this year.”

The investor will compete for an offtake agreement in Ireland’s second renewable energy support scheme (RESS2) auction, which is expected to include ring-fenced capacity for offshore wind. The auction is now expected to take place in the second quarter of 2022. 

GIG would then seek to submit a planning application in the mid-2020s before commissioning the project by 2030.

The company did not confirm whether it expected to use fixed or floating turbines, only that it would use “the latest offshore wind turbine technology available in the market”, describing 260-metre high turbines (12MW) as currently “standard” but adding that “this technology is continuing to develop and evolve”.

GIG is developing offshore wind off Scotland and Norway with consortium partners, but  currently does not have plans to bring in other partners for Skerd Rocks, it told Windpower Monthly.

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