The lengthy process of developing the UK Round 3 zone known as Irish Sea has begun, with Centria and Dong submitting an environmental impact assessment (EIA) scoping report to the UK Planning Inspectorate’s national infrastructure planning division.
The report focuses solely on the first of three offshore wind areas or phases planned by the developers of the Irish Sea zone. To be known as the Rhiannon offshore wind farm, the proposed project is located within the south east portion of the zone and will have a capacity of up to 2.2G, which is just under half of the capacity earmarked for the 4.2GW Round 3 Irish Sea zone as a whole.
Currently, Centrica and Dong, via their 50/50 joint venture called Celtic Array, plan to launch the first round of formal public consultation for Rhiannon during the fourth quarter of this year and to install a meteorological mast next year. A development consent application, accompanied by an environmental statement (ES), is scheduled for late 2013, with construction to begin about 2016.
Centrica and Dong have chosen to develop the Irish Sea zone by dividing it into three areas or phases, with Rhiannon representing the first phase. Within each area, the two companies will pursue their own wind farm projects, with each individual wind farm requiring its own project financing, Windpower Offshore understands.