The Project at a GLANCE
What stage is NISA at?
The area being considered is located off the coast of Dublin, Meath and Louth. The closest potential turbine location would be 12.5km from shore. For more information on the location, please see our Location & Visuals page.
In 2019, the project team began to work through the early-stage concept design. The layout went through a series of iterations.
In December 2019 – we applied for a foreshore licence to carry out geotechnical investigations to establish seabed conditions within the NISA area, and to determine how the layout might work on a technical basis. In June 2022, we were granted a foreshore licence to carry out the works. Surveys got underway the following month, with geophysical investigations being conducted on the site.
The results of these surveys establish the areas technically suitable/unsuitable for the location of individual turbines and as such, influence the wind farm layouts being considered.
NISA - Project Infrastructure
Offshore Design Layout
Taking a considered approach to the layout of NISA, we are incorporating the latest survey info (as outlined in our Design & Review Update) into current working design layouts, which will include between approximately 34 and 46 turbines.
We are currently working on creating photomontages of the proposed working design layout which will form a key part to our next phase of public consultation, due to commence in June 2023.
The feasibility of having a near shore substation, to eliminate the need for an offshore substation, has been examined thoroughly. Assessment of this option highlighted that the approach would have required more cables coming onshore and more cables running through the local road network to connect to the grid at Belcamp.
An offshore substation emerged as the preferred option and ultimately would reduce the onshore infrastructure required, minimising any disruption that might be associated with road and associated works.
Considerations of cable routing offshore include:
- Wind farm layout and landfall location
- Seabed conditions and rock outcrops
- Fishing practices in the area
- Environmental considerations including avoiding designated protected areas
- Location of marine archaeological features
- Energy efficiency considerations
Following a review of the coastline from Rush to Bettystown, an area north of Balbriggan has emerged as the most feasible area to bring the cables on shore. The precise location has still to be confirmed.
Many factors were considered such as local appropriateness and the need to avoid disturbance to the foreshore or coastline. A decision has been taken that there will be no substation between the road and the coast as it would not have been visually appropriate.
Cables will come onshore under the coastline to the north of Balbriggan. While the cables will land here, their presence will be concealed due to the availability of HDD (see below for HDD technology) which removes the need to disturb the coastline.
Factors considered in this decision included available lands, fisheries, road network, existing services and geology.
Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD)
Both open cut and trenchless drilling were considered in this project. Trenchless is the most appropriate option as feedback from our engagement process was that people would rather not see the coastline disturbed. We are confident that this methodology can be applied.
Onshore Grid Facility
An electricity facility consisting of two substations adjacent to each other, will be required in the area as part of the infrastructure needed as part of this project. A decision has been taken not to have any infrastructure between the road and the coast. Therefore, this facility will be located to the west of the road R132. This is required not only to facilitate the transmission of the electricity from the wind farm to the connection point, but it will also strengthen the electricity grid in this area.
A cable route from the north of Balbriggan to the connection point at Belcamp is now being considered. Our assessments to date have taken account of several different factors including:
- Future road upgrades
- Impacts of traffic management during construction
- Existing services
- Active Travel initiatives – possibility of creating cycle paths as part of the reinstatement works
- Environmental consideration
- Existing infrastructure
How this might work best is still being refined, but we envisage a route which would go around the north of Balbriggan, follow local roads wide enough to minimise the need for closures, cross under the M1 and arrive at Belcamp.
The grid connection point will be at Belcamp, which is a facility on the national grid with great connectivity and capacity. We are engaging with Eirgrid to determine what, if any, further infrastructure will be required here.
More detail will be provided as soon as it is available.
Click on the hotspots
Click on the hotspots
Transition Joint Bray
Existing Eirgrid Substation at Belcamp
Underground Cable Circuit and Joint Bays
Offshore Wind Turbines