Announcing New Development Project Director for Dublin Array

Vanessa O'Connell Dublin Array

RWE Renewables Ireland is delighted to announce the appointment of Vanessa O’Connell as the new Development Project Director and will be taking the lead on the Dublin Array Offshore Windfarm. Peter Lefroy has been leading the project since 2018 whilst also being the Offshore Development Head for Ireland. In handing over the reins of Dublin Array, Peter can continue in this role to expand the portfolio of offshore wind development in Ireland.

Vanessa O’Connell brings to RWE over 12 years of experience of leadership in this sector. Vanessa has worked across all stages of offshore wind projects, encompassing development, construction, and operations, with involvement in more than nine offshore wind projects. Over ten years of that was at Orsted working on projects such as Hornsea 1 (1.2GW), Burbo Bank Extension (258MW), Walney Extension (659MW), and Barrow (90MW). During Vanessa’s tenure on Hornsea 1, for instance, Vanessa held leadership positions in the commercial function, served on the construction leadership team, and assumed overall accountability for the asset during its transition to the operational phase.

Returning to Ireland over two years ago, Vanessa assumed the role as Head of Inis Offshore Wind. This independent offshore wind developer backed by Temporis and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund focuses on early stage development in Ireland. 

Vanessa holds an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College and a BA in Economics from Trinity College Dublin. She lives in Dun Laoghaire with her husband and two girls.

Being Irish and living close to the Dublin Array project, Vanessa is particularly passionate about joining this project and working with the team to ensure it serves the community whilst also supporting the Ireland decarbonisation journey.

Peter Lefroy said ‘Vanessa is highly respected in the offshore wind industry bringing with her a broad, practical experience on a variety of projects. We look forward to working with her in delivering the Dublin Array and leading a growing team’.

Dublin Array
Dublin Array is a proposed offshore wind farm which will be located on the Kish and Bray Banks, approximately 10km from the coastline of counties Dublin and Wicklow. It is being developed by RWE, one of the world’s leading developers of renewable energy, and Irish renewable energy firm Saorgus Energy. RWE is leading the development on behalf of the partnership.

Once operational, the project will deliver up to 824MW of clean, renewable electricity and will consist of up to 50 wind turbines. This is enough energy to supply around 770,000 homes and reduce Ireland’s annual carbon emissions by over 1.4m tonnes per year. The final decision on the number of turbines will be informed by ongoing surveys and detailed design work.

The Dublin Array project will also bring significant economic benefits during its construction and operation, with over 1,000 construction phase jobs and 80 direct and 160 indirect full-time jobs expected during the 30-year operational phase. Dublin Array’s operations base is expected to be located within Dún Laoghaire, resulting in an estimated €540 million in local expenditure across the Greater Dublin Area.

Dublin Array was awarded its Maritime Area Consent (MAC) in December 2022. A MAC is required for any proposed Irish offshore wind farm development to be able to seek planning permission. Subject to planning permission, the project could be operational by 2028.

RWE Renewable Ireland
As well as our offshore developments in Ireland, RWE Renewables also has onshore wind and battery storage projects in operation and in development.

With its ‘Growing Green’ strategy, RWE expects to invest more than €50 billion gross in its core business by 2030. That means an average of €5 billion gross each year for offshore and onshore wind, solar, batteries, flexible generation and hydrogen. As a key market, Ireland will be well placed to benefit from this increased investment in renewable technologies.