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SSE Renewables remains committed to Arklow Bank Wind Park II delivery

11 May 2023

SSE Renewables has reaffirmed its commitment to the future delivery of its proposed up to 800MW Arklow Bank Wind Park II offshore wind project, being developed off the coasts of County Wicklow and North Wexford in Ireland.

This follows news today that the wholly owned SSE project did not secure a contract for renewable energy generation in Ireland’s first competitive auction for offshore wind, the Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 1).

The up to 800MW Arklow Bank Wind Park II is being developed in an area situated between six and 15km to the east of Arklow and is currently the most advanced offshore wind project currently in development in Ireland. The project, which builds on the existing GE-owned seven turbines that comprise the operational first phase of the wind park, would comprise between 36 and a maximum of 60 turbines situated on the Arklow Bank.

Construction of Arklow Bank Wind Park II would require an investment of up to €2.5 billion and had been targeting first power in 2028 and completion in 2029, subject to securing a route to market and a final investment decision. Once operational the wind farm would also deliver a multi-million-euro annual community fund.

SSE Renewables will now proceed to submit a planning application later this year to Ireland’s planning board, An Bord Pleanála, whilst it explores ORESS contracts and other routes to market.

"While we are disappointed with the auction result, Arklow Bank Wind Park II is an important project in our offshore pipeline, and we remain committed to its delivery.

We will now take time to assess the outcome of this result and the options available to us to secure a route to market for this project which, we believe, has a vital role to play in contributing to Ireland’s climate action targets, to Ireland’s homegrown energy security, and to the national and regional economy – in particular, to the economic wellbeing of County Wicklow and North Wexford.

In the meantime, we will continue to progress the Arklow Bank II development including preparation of a planning application which we will submit to An Bord Pleanála later this year seeking permission to construct the project."

Stephen Wheeler Managing Director of SSE Renewables

About Arklow Bank Wind Park II

The up to 800MW Arklow Bank Wind Park II project was granted a Maritime Area Consent (MAC) by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, in December 2022 enabling the project to begin its pre-planning application engagement under the new Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Act process with Ireland’s planning board, An Bord Pleanála. SSE Renewables intends to submit a planning application to the authority later this year to build out the project. This future planning application will include detailed proposals for the offshore infrastructure required, including offshore wind turbines, offshore substation platforms, and subsea cables, as well as an accompanying Environmental Impact Assessment for the wind park’s offshore infrastructure. SSE Renewables completed an extensive public consultation on the project earlier this year as part of the project’s ongoing development.

SSE Renewables is continuing to make substantial progress in the development of its project plans. Earlier this year, the company completed seabed surveys to collect almost 2,000 sq km of high-resolution geophysical data to progress the ongoing design development of the project. The data collected from the survey will inform important engineering decisions and help to de-risk the project.

In 2022, the company achieved separate planning permissions from An Bord Pleanála for the onshore grid infrastructure necessary to connect the project to Ireland’s electricity transmission grid, and from Wicklow County Council for the development of an Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) at South Dock, Arklow Harbour.

The offshore wind energy that can be generated at Arklow Bank would have the potential to power almost 850,000 Irish homes each year and offset around 830 billion kilos of harmful carbon emissions annually – contributing significantly to Ireland’s climate action target of 5GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, to Ireland’s security of energy supply, and to the national and local economy.