The North Irish Sea Array or NISA was first mooted in 2009 by a company called Gaelectric. That company carried out a number of studies and made an application to the Department for a foreshore site investigation licence which was granted in February 2012. However, Gaelectric did not advance the project from that point.
Statkraft is now taking this work forward and looking to develop the proposal. The project has moved on from advanced concept design, and surveys, consultations and assessments will be carried out over the next year, to inform the content of a planning application submission for the project.
We have already started to engage with those who work in fisheries in order to inform our initial consideration of how this proposal might work best. We have listened to their views and we are endeavouring to incorporate their feedback in our design proposal in order to minimise any impacts on commercial fishing and maximise the capture all opportunities for benefits for the fishing community. These discussions have influenced our initial design concept which has reduced the number of turbines and the potential visual impacts (See further information on the Pod Concept page)
As we gather more information our proposals will be further refined.
It makes sense to develop an offshore wind farm close to areas of high electricity demand. By situating the wind farm close to the area with our country’s greatest electricity demand we will be able to connect directly to the electricity grid, where it is needed most. We will be able to generate clean energy to power approximately 500,000 homes in the area.
Initial iterations of the design worked to maximise the wind energy output of the site whilst minimising costs. These initial iterations consisted of approximately 50 turbines located in the shallowest waters allowing for the most energy-efficient turbine separation distances. Whilst this design approach would allow for the most technically and financially efficient layout, it was recognised that it would not reflect what might be the most suitable and appropriate design in terms of achieving a balance of aesthetics and appropriateness for stakeholders in the local area.
We are currently working to maximise the distance between the coast and the wind farm whilst still building in waters that are suitable for what are known as fixed base wind turbines. Fixed base turbines can be built in waters up to a depth in the region of 50 to 60 metres. Beyond these depths floating bases would be required. In the longer term, with the further development of technologies and reductions in costs, floating base wind farms may be developed in Ireland however, it is envisaged that fixed base foundations will form the basis of all offshore wind farms that will be developed in Ireland in the nearer term.