North Irish Sea Array (NISA)
Ireland has one of the largest offshore wind resources in the world. The Government’s Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan, published in 2014, indicated the potential to generate up to 10,000 MW of renewable energy from offshore wind energy. Internationally, offshore wind is the most rapidly growing source of renewable energy. In 2014, 1,500MW of offshore power was deployed around Europe.
We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Oriel Wind Farm Ltd. to co-develop a significant offshore wind farm in the north Irish Sea. The North Irish Sea Array (NISA) has the potential to produce up to 870 MW of wind energy from the Irish Sea and will commence with the development of a 15 MW demonstration project entailing an investment of €80million in a new research and development hub for offshore wind energy.
Up to 150 jobs could be created during the construction of the project, with 30 new long term jobs for the North East Region. The North Irish Sea Array will be the first major offshore renewable energy project to be developed in the Irish Sea since the construction of the Arklow Bank Wind Farm by GE Electricity in 2001.
Both Oriel and Gaelectric have been involved in representations to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to extend the feed-in tariff for wave and tidal energy, announced at the Irish Renewable Energy Summit 2015, to offshore wind R&D projects, to be capped at 30 MW.