Element Power has announced that it has taken over development of the North Irish Sea Array (NISA) offshore wind site in the Irish Sea. This marks Element Power’s first investment in offshore wind development, after a decade of success in onshore wind, solar and, more recently, interconnection, energy storage and flexible grid services.
The company has been assessing the market to determine the best entry point to utilise its development capability, and take advantage of the rapid improvements in the technical and commercial viability of offshore wind. The NISA site is located off the east coast of Ireland and has a potential capacity of up to 750MW, enough to power more than half a million Irish homes a year .
Development work has been ongoing at the site for several years and has included detailed site assessments and environmental and technical constraint analysis that show its suitability for an offshore wind farm. Element Power was able to take over development of the site from Gaelectric.
Mike O’Neill, CEO of Element Power, said;
“Ireland has an outstanding offshore wind energy resource that will play a key role in helping the country shift to a low carbon economy and increase its energy security, delivering benefits for Irish consumers and industry. This site, in the relatively shallow waters of the east coast and near the large electrical demands of Dublin and the fast-growing data center industry, is ideally located to be in the first wave of large scale offshore projects to be built in Ireland to meet our 2030 renewable energy targets.”
According to the International Energy Agency, offshore wind is on the cusp of exponential growth globally. This is largely down to the success of the industry in a handful of European countries, like the UK, Denmark and Germany, which has led to a dramatic fall in costs. 
Mike O’Neill continued;
“The time is right for Ireland to be part of the global expansion of offshore wind and reap the opportunity to develop a new industry and supply chain that generates employment and local benefits. We believe that, while onshore wind will continue to be the primary and most cost-effective source of renewable energy in Ireland well into the next decade, by the mid-2020s offshore wind will have become cost-effective enough for it to also be one of the main forms of renewables for the country. For this to happen, however, the government must put in place the necessary licensing regime now to ensure that investment can continue over the coming years in the development of this critical future infrastructure.”
Element Power has developed over 220 MW of onshore wind projects now operational across Ireland, with another 1GW of capacity in the pipeline, and is the developer of the Greenlink electricity interconnector, a 500MW infrastructure project that will link Ireland with the UK.Mike O’Neill added;
“Our experience and expertise in large-scale onshore wind and grid transmission solutions together with sub-sea HVDC projects will complement our offshore development plans and we look forward to taking the NISA project forward.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Based on annual household use of 4200kWh as per CRU’s decision paper published March 2017 following its review of typical consumption figures (CER: 7042) and a rolling five year average offshore wind load factor of 37.2% using data from the UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Digest of UK energy Statistics.
- REWIND OFFSHORE: Comparative Analysis of International Offshore Wind Energy Development (March 2017), the IEA Renewable Energy Technology Deployment Technology Collaboration Programme (IEA RETD TCP) http://iea-retd.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/IEA-RETD-REWind-Offshore-...“Recent auction tenders suggest that costs have fallen by 60% compared to 2010 levels, already surpassing industry cost targets for 2025, eight years ahead of schedule.”
ABOUT ELEMENT POWER:
Element Power is a European-based energy company that develops, acquires, builds, finances and operates large-scale wind, solar PV, interconnection and flexible grid services including storage. Active in 7 countries with a deep pipeline of projects in development, the group has extensive experience and successful track record of delivering over 3GW of renewable energy capacity since 2008. Element Power also manages the operation of 285MW of assets for some of the leading investors in the sector.