Irish east coast set for clean energy windfall after ESB Oriel deal

First announced in 2017, the Oriel Wind Farm is an multinational project that has promised big things for helping Ireland make amends for its shortcomings in renewable energy production.

To be located off the coast of Dundalk, the project will have a potential capacity of up to 330MW, with commercial operations to get underway sometime in the middle of next year. Once operational, it could power as many as 280,000 households in Louth and Meath, with an additional reduction in power-based carbon emissions by 600,000 tonnes per annum.

Now, ESB has announced that it has acquired a 35pc stake in the project led by the major renewable energy firm Parkwind. The energy provider hopes it will significantly boost our national renewable energy capacity.

“[This] announcement represents a significant investment by ESB in offshore wind, which we anticipate will account for the bulk of Ireland’s future zero-carbon electricity,” said ESB chief executive Pat O’Doherty.

“Our collaboration with internationally respected developers such as Parkwind in the delivery of the Oriel and Clogherhead projects underscores our commitment to further involvement in the development and construction of offshore wind farms in both Ireland and the UK.”

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, TD, also stated at the announcement that the Government hopes to make more of the fact Ireland has a sea area almost 10 times the size of its landmass.

As part of the agreement, Parkwind will also acquire a stake of up to 35pc in the nearby, separate Clogherhead wind farm, for which ESB holds a foreshore licence to commence site investigations.

Parkwind co-CEO François Van Leeuw said of the deal: “Since its entry into the Oriel project, Parkwind has performed a lot of development activities, opened offices in Dublin and is delighted to welcome ESB to the Oriel project team. We look forward to working with ESB and local stakeholders in making the Oriel and the Clogherhead projects a success.”