An application for authorisation to build Ireland's first offshore wind farm has been lodged by green electricity trader Eirtricity. Its 500 MW project is planned for the Arklow Banks, a sand bank ten kilometres off the coast of Arklow, County Wicklow. Eirtricity needs authorisation from the Commission for Electricity Regulation (CER) before applying in mid 2001 for a foreshore lease from the Marine and Natural Resources minister. If granted, the company hopes to begin constructing the turbines in early 2002. When complete, the IR£400 million project would have the capacity to power up to 500,000 homes. "People are starting to realise that the future of wind energy lies in major offshore developments," says Eirtricity's Eddie O'Connor. "With this project we hope to make the south-east one of the hubs of this exciting new industry."