The Story So Far
The promoters applied for and were granted two Foreshore Licences in 2000. This allowed the company to carry out a series of technical and environmental studies on the Kish and Bray banks to confirm the feasibility of constructing an offshore wind farm. These studies included the following:
Assessment of potential environmental impacts
A comprehensive assessment of all possible environmental impacts was carried out allowing an Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement to be prepared.
Wind resource monitoring
Wind speeds and direction were monitored for a period of years on the Kish Lighthouse. This wind data is provided to Met Eireann to assist with their weather forecasting. A LIDAR device was subsequently installed on the lighthouse to measure the wind speeds at the proposed height of the wind turbines.
A series of geotechnical investigations was carried out on the banks to confirm the feasibility of installing turbines on the Kish and Bray banks, including bathymetric survey, boreholes and seismic survey.
Archaeological field investigations
A side scan sonar and magnetometry survey was carried out to allow the location of all potential items of archaeological interest, such as shipwrecks, on the banks to be identified.
Tidal measurements were carried out on the banks and a hydrodynamic model of the banks created.
Following this, applications were made by Dublin Array to the Department for two Foreshore Leases, one for the Kish Bank and the other for the Bray Bank. The applications included an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A Foreshore Lease allows the construction and operation of a wind farm in the lease area. Further environmental and technical studies were carried out in the following years to ensure that the application was kept up to date with current regulations, particularly nature conservation regulations, and the results of these supplementary studies were recently submitted to the Department.
The Next Stage
These Foreshore Leases, if granted, would allow the construction and operation of a wind farm within the lease area. The decision whether to grant Foreshore Leases will be taken by the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government. In making that decision, he will review the application and will also review submissions that were received from the public and other interested parties during the consultation process.
It is planned by Government that new legislation will transfer responsibility for consenting of new offshore wind energy projects to An Bord Pleanala. This transfer will affect new applications only. In the interim, no new foreshore applications for offshore wind are being considered.
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