We are currently preparing two Environmental Impact Assessment Reports (EIAR) to accompany the separate onshore grid infrastructure planning application to An Bord Pleanála and the application to DHPLG to permit construction of the offshore infrastructure for the wind farm. In preparation for each of the Environmental Impact Assessment Reports, we have published individual scoping documents which set out the information that will be contained in the Reports, and the methods that will be used to gather and assess that required information. If you would like to identify issues and environmental topics that you feel should be addressed during this process please contact us.
Each offshore and onshore EIA Scoping Reports includes:
- A description of the proposed project to inform the public and stakeholders
- Clarification of what issues and topics the EIAR should consider when assessing the project
- Identification of potential direct and indirect impacts that the EIAR will examine
- Identification of the method and the criteria to be used in predicting and evaluating
any potential impacts
- Identification of available information and data to inform what additional environmental
or other investigations will be required
- Mitigation measures to be considered for the project
The Onshore EIA Scoping Report is available here.
The Onshore EIA Report will consider:
- Air Quality
- Land and Soils
- Noise and Vibration
- Traffic and Transportation
- Landscape and Visual
- Archaeology, Architectural and Cultural Heritage
- Resource and Waste Management
- Material Assets
- Population and Human Health
- Major Accidents and Natural Disasters
As part of the development process, a series of environmental and technical assessment studies were completed on several potential substation sites and cable routes to determine the option most suited for the proposed development and to ensure it was designed sympathetically to the local environment and with the least impact.
Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 has consent in the foreshore lease for two landfall locations for the export cable coming ashore from the offshore wind farm. The Northern landfall location is at Johnstown North, approximately 5km northeast of Arklow town, close to Ennereilly Beach. The Southern landfall location is at Arklow Harbour, adjacent to the site of the proposed Irish Water Treatment Plant.
These options were reviewed and assessed as part of a feasibility assessment. Following the options assessment, the northern landfall at Johnstown North was identified as the preferred landfall location. The residential and civic environment surrounding the southern landfall, as well as other technical aspects, informed this decision.
Our preferred approach to installing the cable at landfall is to use a specialist cable burial method called horizontal directional drilling (HDD). This approach enables us to install the cables underground while minimising disturbance to the land above.
A cable route assessment has been conducted identifying and recommending an emerging preferred underground route from landfall to the preferred substation location, to be brought forward as part of the consenting process, likely with An Bord Pleanála.
An area of approximately 16km2 was assessed from an environmental, engineering and consenting
These assessments sought to determine the emerging preferred route between the landfall and the preferred substation location, with the least impact on environment, archaeology, land use and residents. The emerging preferred route is outlined in Figure 2 and we are currently progressing engagement with all landowners along this route. The route itself is approximately 5km in length and the cables will be buried underground. They will primarily be buried in a trench through agricultural fields however at certain constraint locations such as road and stream crossings it will be necessary to use specialist cable burying technology such as a Horizontal Directional Drill, to minimise disturbance to the land above.
We have identified and evaluated a number of potential sites for the proposed substation in the Arklow area. This included assessments of various constraints including potential environmentally protected and sensitive sites, biodiversity considerations such as habitats and flora and fauna, zoning objectives and site history, visual impact, noise impact (both during construction and operation), archaeology and cultural heritage, proximity to residential and other sensitive locations, proximity to other planned developments and water quality. Other constraints such as public rights of way, proximity to national grid infrastructure, transport and access routes, ground conditions and flood risk were also considered.
The preferred site location for the proposed 220kV substation is at the Avoca River Business Park near Shelton Abbey. This site was selected based on its accessibility, industrial history, and services and utilities available on site. The site is zoned for employment and is in close proximity to the existing 220kV overhead electricity line.
A Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) was chosen for the site, as it has a smaller footprint, reduced visual impact and less maintenance requirements during operation. The substation consists of various components. These include two GIS building, transformers, harmonic filters, ancillary plant and a control building.
We have been actively engaging with a number of landowners and the emerging preferred
substation location is outlined in Figure 3.
A landscape and visual assessment has been carried out to determine the impact the proposed development will have from a visual perspective.
Visualisations of the substation from various viewpoints have been prepared. The viewpoints selected have been taken from carefully selected vantage points and are available on this page.
There is the potential for visual impact during construction along the cable route and at the landfall location, result of vegetation clearance, and trenching activities. Any impact is predicted to be minor and temporary, as land and vegetation will be reinstated.
Ecology surveys have been carried out and the data will be assessed to ensure that the final onshore elements of the proposal are designed sympathetically to the local environment and wildlife.
These surveys covered the landfall site, the cable route, the substation location and connection to the national grid network.
As well as birds and wildlife, these assessments also include bats, badgers, otters, fish stock and amphibians. Consideration will be given to local vegetation, including hedgerows, trees and important habitats. The results of the surveys will be used to avoid, reduce and offset any impacts on biodiversity through sensitive design and mitigation measures as required.
The proposed underground cable route passes through predominately rural areas. The substation is located in an industrial setting adjacent to the M11 motorway, both of which have existing background noise levels.
The construction at the landfall, cable route, and the substation has the potential to give rise to temporary noise. During operation, there will only be noise from the electrical and mechanical plant of the substation, most of which will be located indoors in the GIS building which will be located in an already industrial setting.
Background noise monitoring will be undertaken at the preferred substation location, along the cable route and also at the landfall location. Noise modelling will be completed to inform the EIAR and to ensure noise emissions from both the construction and operational aspects of the developments will fall within acceptable limits.
Find out more about each component
Have Your Say
We are committed to working with local communities and stakeholders to gather feedback and local information that will inform the project on an ongoing basis. Local knowledge is key to us so that we understand the issues that are important to the community and can refine our plans accordingly.Have your say