Please click on map to enlarge.

Project Description

DP Energy has given the name Latitude 52 to the area it is exploring for a potential future offshore wind farm off the coast of Counties Wicklow and Wexford.

DP Energy has applied to the Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage (DoHLGH) for a Foreshore Licence to carry out surveys to assess the suitability of the exploration area for an offshore wind farm development.

The exploration area has been selected based on a constraint analysis which considered: proximity to potential grid connection points; water depth; wind speeds; environmental designated areas; fisheries; seabed substrate; archaeology & shipwrecks; pipelines; cables; existing and planned developments; shipping and navigation; port facilities and waste disposal sites.

The project will have the potential capacity of up to 1,000MW (1 GW) but until the surveys are complete, this figure is indicative only.

The number of wind turbines likely to make up the offshore wind farm will depend on both the area considered suitable for development following survey and on the wind turbine technology that will be available during the wind farm design phase.

Current Status

To seek permission to investigate the foreshore area for the Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm, an application for a Foreshore Licence was submitted to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DoHLGH) in December 2020.

Public Consultation will take place in the coming months. This is the time that all of the relevant documentation and maps will be made available to the public to view and to submit comments and concerns.

We will post notification of Public Consultation on this website and in national and local newspapers.

If you would like to be notified when Public Consultation begins, please get in using our Contact Form.

Aerial and land based ecology surveys commenced in April 2021.

Location

The area under exploration for the potential Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm lies offshore, broadly from Wicklow Town, County Wicklow to Cahore Point, County Wexford (please see map).

The RED boundary (Foreshore Licence Application Area) represents an area of approximately 1036.34 km2 under investigation for potential cable routes .

Landfall areas along the coastline are also being investigated for their potential to bring subsea cables ashore.

The GREY boundary (Turbine Array Investigation Area) represents an area of approximately 256.36 km2 and is the area which is under investigation as a location for the Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm.

Within both of these areas the hatched area represents the Cable Investigation Area and the unhatched area represents the Turbine Array Investigation Area

The area is significantly larger than the area ultimately required for a 1GW offshore wind farm; once all survey data is analysed, the optimal area can then be chosen for the offshore wind farm.

Benefits

Frequently Ask Questions:

Offshore Wind Farms in General

Do you need a licence to develop a wind farm?

To do the investigative work to see if a wind farm is viable in the area, a Foreshore Licence must be obtained from the Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage. A Foreshore Licence allows the holder to investigate and area to see if a wind farm is viable.

How are offshore wind turbines held in place?

The depth of water in which the wind farm is built dictates how the turbines are held in place. Shallow water (water depth < 45m) allows the turbines to be fixed directly to the seabed using Monopile (one connection point). Where the water is moderately deep (45m-70m) Jacket or Tripod foundations are used. In deep water (80m+) the turbines are anchored to the seabed using mooring lines. There are four types of floating foundations: Barge, Semi-submersible, Tension Leg Platform and Spar, as seen in the diagram below:

 

What surveys must be undertaken before the wind farm can be built?

  • Geophysical Survey: looks at the profile of the seafloor.
  • Geotechnical Survey: looks at what the sea floor is made of.
  • Wind Resource Monitoring: measures the speed and direction of the wind.
  • Metocean Survey: measures wave height and tide/current over time.
  • Intertidal Surveys: baseline surveys of animals present.
  • Birds and Marine Mammal Surveys: log the birds and mammals present in the area.

What is a substation and what does it do?

A substation consists of transformers, to change the voltage to different levels, and control and protection equipment (such as switchgear, disconnectors and circuit breakers) which helps to operate the grid safely. An offshore substation transforms the wind turbine voltages to a higher voltage, so that the wind farm power can be exported onshore using less cables, and to reduce power losses. An onshore substation is more likely to transform the power to a lower voltage, so that the power can be distributed to where to is needed via distribution lines and cables to our homes and businesses.

What is EMF?

EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields) occur both naturally (from the sun) and around electricity cables. They also occur around every day commonly used appliances such as computers, electric blankets and hair-dryers. There has been extensive research into EMFs and this has shown that the EMFs that are emitted from offshore wind farm cables are not strong enough to harm humans or animals.

What are the breaking strains for the blades?

Wind turbines (including the rotor and blades) are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions including Typhoons. Typhoon rated turbines are designed to be suitable for waters off Taiwan and Japan and for similar conditions off the east coast of the USA. A typical wind turbine would operate in wind speeds from ~3metres/second measured at hub height, up to around 25metres/second. At wind speeds above this the turbines go into survival mode. Different turbine ratings are used based on the different site conditions; this is one of the reasons that measurement of wind is so important. A typical high wind rated turbine for high wind speed sites in Ireland would be designed for in excess of 70metres/second gusts or 140knts.

Will the blades sink or float if broken/damaged by weather?

Wind turbine blades are designed for extreme load conditions and start to pitch from winds speeds of 12metres/second upwards in order to ‘spill’ some of the wind and reduce loads. For wind speeds in excess of about 25metres/second the blades are fully pitched out of the wind so as to minimise loading on the blades and structure. In the rare event that there is blade loss or partial loss the blades should sink relatively quickly.


Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm

What companies are involved in developing the Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm?

DP Energy is developing the Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm.

You can learn more about DP Energy by clicking the icon below:

 

 

Why have you chosen to investigate off the coast of Wicklow/Wexford?

There are many reasons that the site was chosen to investigate. We carried out a constraint analysis (a study to show the limitations to developing an offshore wind farm) to find the best potential site for the Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm and concluded that the site chosen was the best area in terms of the following:

  • The proximity to potential grid connection points.
  • The depth of the water.
  • The speed of the winds in the area. 
  • What the prevailing seabed conditions are – mud/sand/rock. 
  • Proximity to port facilities for development, operation and maintenance and decommissioning. 
  • Fisheries in the area. 
  • The number of environmentally sensitive areas. 
  • Existing and planned developments. 
  • Existing cables. 
  • Shipwrecks/Archaeology in the area. 

What area will the Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm cover?

The area covered by the wind farm will be approximately 300km²

How big will the wind turbines be?

The size of the turbines will depend on the technology used. Currently the largest offshore wind turbine commercially available has a 15MW capacity. DP Energy have not decided on a size for the turbines at this stage, but it is likely that the turbines will be between 12MW (260m high) and 15MW (300m high).

 

How far offshore will the turbines be?

We aim to have the turbines approximately 4.7nm off the coast, that’s about 8.8kilometers, but until the surveys are complete this is an estimate.

How many wind turbines will be in the Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm?

The number of wind turbines used in the wind farm will depend on the technology used. Currently we are considering turbines between 12MW and 15MW capacity. If we use 12MW turbines there will be approximately 84 turbines in the wind farm. If we use 15MW turbines there will be approximately 70 wind turbines in the wind farm. Until the surveys are done and we enter the design phase these figures are an estimate. As soon as we reach conclusions this information will be updated.

Where will the cables come ashore?

We are currently looking at many potential landfall sites. In order to narrow down the options we are taking into account matters such as stakeholders in the area, population density, seabed substrate, proximity to grid connection, other developers in the area, fishers in the area and the environment.

Will you need to build a new substation?

Yes, there will be substations at sea, and another substation onshore. This is necessary as the power exported from the wind farm must meet certain electrical conditions as set out by EirGrid at the point where the power connects into the main electricity grid. This can be done at the onshore substation using specialised grid equipment such as filters and compensation devices. This is to ensure that the power delivered to homes and businesses is of sufficient quality so that loads and appliances operate as expected and are not damaged.

If the wind farm is connecting to the electricity grid at the same voltage as the main electricity grid infrastructure, then no transformers are needed. Only protection and control equipment are used, and this is called a switching station.

When will the wind turbines be in place?

We are working towards having the turbines operational by 2030. Survey work must first be undertaken to ensure that the location is suitable for a wind farm, and to ensure that we take into account all aspects such as environmental, physical and socio-economic. We intend to have the wind farm operational in time to contribute to the Government climate action plan, which aims at having 70% of Ireland’s electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030.

When are the surveys being carried out?

Aeriel bird and marine mammal surveys for Latitude 53 will commence in April 2021.  They will continue for 2 years to ensure we can document all of the birds and mammals present in the area.

How many houses will the Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm power?

The proposed 1000 MW (1 GW) project could potentially generate 8,760,000 MWh of electricity per year. This is enough clean green energy to supply 938,571 houses yearly.

Calculations are based on the information supplied in the links below: 

 Average household electricity usage in 2017, 2018 (CER17042-Review-of-Typical-Consumption-Figures-Decision-Pap) 4,200 kWh/year (4.2 MWh/year)

Capacity factor for offshore wind (EirGrid-TES-2019-Report.pdf) 45%.

1000MW x 8760h = 8,760,000 MWh  

8760000 MWh x 0.45% / 4.2 MWh/year = 938,571 houses powered/year

Where will the electricity from the wind farm go?

The electricity generated by the wind turbines will travel through sub-sea cables to a substation. It will then travel through underground cables to connect to the Grid.

By how much will the wind farm reduce Ireland’s carbon (CO2) emissions?

Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm has the potential to reduce Ireland’s carbon (CO2) emissions by 2,847,000 tonnes  every year.  

Calculations are based on the information supplied in the links below: 

Average carbon intensity of electricity in 2019 (Energy-Emissions-Report-2020.pdfhttps://www.epa.ie/ghg/energyindustries/325 g CO2/kWh  

Capacity factor for offshore wind (EirGrid-TES-2019-Report.pdf) 45%.

1000MW x 8760h = 8,760,000 MWh

8760000 MWh x 325000 gCO2/MWh = 2847000000000 gCO2/MWh = 2,847,000 tonnes CO2/year

Will Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm create new jobs?

Yes. Currently the project is supporting a number of jobs in the area and as the project progresses into the different stages such as design, construction and then operation and maintenance new jobs will be created. DP Energy will always strive to support local supply chain and employment and will post information about employment opportunities regularly.

Will there be a community benefit fund?

The details of the Government’s Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS) are currently being finalised. DP Energy are committed to working with communities to support local projects.

Does the equipment used in the survey effect the animals in the area while being used?

There may be temporary impacts as a result of vessel and survey activity; fish will avoid the immediate area around the survey vessel once operations have started and are unlikely to return to the area until the sound source has passed. The effect is temporary displacement from the immediate area surrounding the survey activity. John Power is the Fisheries Liaisons Officer for the Shelmalere Offshore Wind Farm. Please contact John on 087 145 5599 for more information.

Who can I talk to for more information?

Yvonne Cronin is DP Energy’s Stakeholder and Community Liaison Manager. Yvonne is available from 9am till 5:30pm during the week to discuss any aspect of the Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm and any other aspect of the work DP Energy is undertaking. Feel free to contact her on 087 102 8227 or email her on