Crown Estate awards first leases

PEYE-DETI-CROWN-ESTATES---0003The Crown Estate has announced its first leases for renewable energy in Northern Ireland waters.  Agreements were signed for three projects:

  • a 660MW offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea off the South Down coast by First Flight Wind Ltd;
  • a 100MW tidal energy project at Torr Head in North Antrim (a joint venture between two Irish companies: the OpenHydro Group and Bord Gáis Energy); and
  • another 100MW tidal project at nearby Fair Head (by Irish company DP Marine Energy Limited and DEME NV of Belgium.

First Flight Wind Ltd is a consortium comprising B9 Energy Offshore Developments Ltd, Dong Energy Power (UK) Ltd and Renewable Energy Systems Ltd.  Energy Minister Arlene Foster praised “a major milestone for Northern Ireland” and welcomed the investment as an “excellent opportunity” for the province.

Rob Hastings, the Crown Estate’s Director of Energy and Infrastructure, was “very pleased” to reach this stage and pledged to “continue to work closely with Northern Ireland Executive and developers to progress projects and attract investment.”

Developers will now undertake environmental impact assessments of their projects and consult with local stakeholders.  A full lease will be accompanied by the relevant marine licences and electricity consents.  Actual development is expected from 2016-2017 onwards.

“Offshore renewables are about innovation, growth and opportunities,” Foster said.  “As costs and security of supply of non-renewables remain unpredictable and ever increasing, the economic and environmental benefits of renewables and offshore renewables become clearer.”

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