NISA

North Irish Sea Array

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Project Details

The Project at a Glance

Current layout to include a maximum of 49 turbines

Produce renewable energy for Ireland's electricity grid

Will displace approximately half a million tonnes of CO2 per annum

Off the coast of Dublin, Meath and Louth

Capacity to power approx. 500,000 homes

Community Benefit Fund of approximately €4 million per annum

Potential to create high-quality jobs

Planned connection point: Belcamp Station

NISA is a Strategic Infrastructure Development which is of strategic or social importance to the local area and as such requires a direct application to An Bord Pleanála

Associated works will include turbine foundations, subsea electrical and communications cables, temporary site compounds, offshore substation, grid systems services, underground electrical and communications cables, joint bays, grid connection and operation and maintenance facilities.

Location

The area being considered is located off the coast of Dublin, Meath and Louth. The closest potential turbine location would be approximately 13km from shore. For more information on the location, please see our Location & Visuals page.

NISA - Project Infrastructure

Offshore Design Layout
The offshore infrastructure is located within the proposed development boundary and will comprise the following: Array area – where the following infrastructure will be located:
  • Offshore Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs) – The planning application allows flexibility for NISA by presenting two layout options. One with 35 WTGs with a maximum tip height of 316m and one with 49 WTGs with a maximum tip height of 290m. This will ensure the project can avail of the most suitable technology at the time of construction.
  • Inter-array cables
  • Offshore Substation Platform (OSP) – inter-array cables will connect to an offshore substation platform in the middle of the array
  • Seabed foundations
  • Offshore Export Cable Corridor – where the offshore electrical infrastructure (subsea export cable(s)) will be routed from the OSP to landfall.
Photomontages of how the project design would look can be viewed by clicking this link to our Location & Visuals page. VIEW DISTANCE FROM SHORE MAP
Offshore Cables
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
Landfall location

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.

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 grid facility 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

A grid facility will be required in the area as part of the infrastructure needed as part of this project. A decision has been taken to not 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.

Cable Route

The proposed cable route will go around the north of Balbriggan, follow local roads wide enough to minimise the need for closures, cross under the M1 and arrive at the grid connection point at Belcamp.

Connection at Belcamp Substation

EirGrid has specified that NISA’s grid connection point is at Belcamp Substation. Belcamp is a facility on the national grid with great connectivity and capacity.

EirGrid Functional Specifications

NISA must also be cognisant of the relevant EirGrid Specification which outlines the basis for the design of the cable route and specifies that “Underground cables shall, as a standard, be routed within the reserve of public roads.”

In addition to these points, 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
  •  

More detail on the proposed route is available on our Virtual Consultation Room.

In January 2023, Statkraft teamed up with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), a global leader in offshore wind energy projects. To deliver a project as significant as NISA, it is vital for Statkraft to partner with a company with a successful track record and expertise in offshore wind development. CIP and its construction partners Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) have years of experience in financing and developing offshore wind projects around the world. This new and exciting partnership with CIP will complement Statkraft’s development work, enabling the project to harness the power of offshore wind and deliver clean energy to Ireland’s homes and businesses.

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Infrastructure graphic

Offshore Wind Turbines

Offshore Substation

Inter-array cables

Transition Joint Bay

Onshore substation

DART Rail Line

Underground Cable Circuit and Joint Bays

Existing Eirgrid Substation at Belcamp

Houses & Businesses

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Photomontage Viewer

The location of each baseline photograph is surveyed to within 10cm of accuracy meaning the photomontages are extremely accurate in terms of location and size of the proposed turbines. These photomontages are created using an industry standard process and governed by very strict guidelines. They have also been peer reviewed as part of the proposed development’s EIA process, with no concerns regarding the validity of the photomontages.