Construction has begun on Ireland's first offshore wind farm with the start of onshore works for phase one of Airtricity's Arklow Bank project in the Irish Sea. Seven GE Wind 3.6 MW turbines are to be installed some ten kilometres off the coast of County Wicklow. The project will be the first offshore application of GE's new turbine, and the first to use turbines with a rated capacity greater than 3 MW. Airtricity's Eddie O'Connor says it is a demonstration project to prove that the Irish Sea can be a base for wind generation. The turbines are to be operational by the end of the year. GE Wind is to operate the wind farm as a demonstration site for around two years. Airtricity has an option to buy the project after its demonstration is complete. The project is the first 25 MW phase of a EUR 600 million plan to build up to 200 turbines with a combined capacity of 500 MW on the Arklow sandbank. It is the world's largest offshore wind power plant with full siting and construction consent
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