SSE’s Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 could boost Irish economy by €800m

Architects image of Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 operations base - image courtesy of SSE Renewables

SSE’s Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 could boost the Irish economy by up to €800m and support 2,300 direct and indirect jobs during the project’s lifetime.

New socio-economic research on the potential benefits of the site also shows more than half a billion euro could directly benefit counties Wicklow and Wexford.

The preliminary data is contained in an independent report commissioned by SSE Renewables, which is due to be published in the new year. 

The report, compiled by BiGGAR Economics to support the project’s ongoing development ahead of submission to An Bord Pleanála - Ireland's national independent planning body - details the national and regional benefits that the proposed 800MW offshore wind project off the coast of South Wicklow would create. 

The final report will be published in the coming months to coincide with the submission by SSE Renewables of a planning application to An Bord Pleanála for the project’s associated offshore infrastructure.

The research has found that approximately 2,300 direct and indirect jobs would be created throughout the project’s lifetime, from development and construction through to operations and decommissioning.

Upon commencement of commercial operations, Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 would create around 130 jobs, direct and induced, over its expected 35-year operational lifetime. 

Additionally, the wind farm would generate an economic contribution to the Irish economy of up to €19m annually, up to €13m of which would benefit the Wicklow and Wexford economies.

Overall, it is estimated Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 could generate a total lifetime spend across national and international markets in excess of €4.8bn, from early-stage development and construction through to 35 years of expected operations, and eventual decommissioning.

Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 project director James O’Hara said: “The benefits that large-scale offshore wind projects can bring to local and regional economies are well documented, but it is invaluable to have current data on the potential economic value of Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 project to the regional economy.

“The renewables industry already plays an important role in supporting rural and regional economies around the country, but as we look towards the development of the offshore wind industry in Ireland, the possible economic benefits could be transformative. 

“The data we’re publishing on the Arklow project demonstrates that offshore wind infrastructure can play an important role in supporting job creation and delivering more balanced regional development. The data is particularly heartening, especially in light of global macro-economic challenges for the industry.

“This report will form part of our upcoming offshore infrastructure planning application to An Bord Pleanála and details the potential benefits to the regional and national economy in terms of job creation and GVA, as well as to the supply chain.”

SSE Renewables is expected to submit its final planning application seeking consent for the offshore infrastructure for Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 to An Bord Pleanála in the coming months. 

The renewable energy developer, owner and operator already holds two consents in relation to the project, the first for the onshore grid infrastructure, including the underground cable route and substation at Avoca River Park, and the second for the operations and maintenance facility (OMF) at South Dock, Arklow Harbour.

Final delivery of Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 is subject to the project receiving planning consent for the offshore infrastructure, securing a route to market, and a final investment decision. 

Should the project be delivered, SSE Renewables intends to administer a multi-million-euro Community Benefit Fund throughout the project’s operational lifetime.

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