Frequently asked questions

As part of our first phase of public consultation, we hosted a webinar on the March 11 2021 about the project. This was led by members of the project team, who gave presentations on different aspects of the project and answered questions submitted by those who attended.

You can now access a complete recording of the webinar  to view at your leisure.

During the webinar, we answered many questions that were submitted in advance or during the event itself.  Although we managed to get through many questions on the evening, we inevitably ran out of time. We promised to provide answers to all those remaining questions, which are captured below. 

If after watching the webinar you have new questions or would like to share any feedback with us, we would be delighted to hear from you. There are a number of ways you can contact us.

Our next public exhibition and consultation event is expected to take place later this year, where we will provide updates on all progress made within the project. Full details will be made available in advance.

FAQ

Environment

We will undertake rigorous desk-based assessment to understand which conservation areas need to be considered in the Natura Impact Assessments. 

We will complete thorough appropriate assessments under the Habitats Directive to inform wind farm design, mitigation, and monitoring strategies. 

We will engage with all key stakeholders to ensure our assessment is carried out in line with their expectations. 

We will liaise with other developers to try to streamline assessment methods to support future appropriate assessment which will be completed by An Bord Pleanála. 

The potential impacts of the construction and operational phases of the wind farm will be assessed in a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment Report, which will be prepared by a range of experienced environmental specialists in consultation with a wider range of stakeholders, including the fishing and marine communities, as part of our planning consent application. We will also be carrying out surveys to determine the ecology on and in the seabed and in the water column.

The different types of marine ecology that will be assessed include marine mammals (whales, dolphins, seals), breeding and wintering birds, seabed ecology and fish ecology. In addition, we will be assessing the geology and hydrology of the area which are both key elements of marine ecosystems. Potential impacts that will be assessed include underwater noise, electromagnetic fields, placement of structures on and in the seabed.

The overall footprint of a wind farm on the seabed is minimal compared to the development area.

The assessment methodologies used are informed by consultations and a range of guidance documents and best practice principles from recognised Irish and international sources, including An Bord Pleanála, the Environmental Protection Agency, relevant Government departments and the European Commission.

We will undertake a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment programme and will ensure Codling Wind Park is developed to the highest environmental standards, in consultation and engagement with all relevant stakeholders and authorities.

This rigorous process will include carrying out assessments of all potential impacts and setting out how these will be managed and mitigated where they arise. 

Mitigation will be incorporated both at the design stage of the project, which we are currently progressing, and once the impact assessment results are known to minimise impact levels.  In addition to this, key effects from the wind farm on certain receptors such as birds and marine mammals will be monitored either during or after construction, or both depending on the outcome of our assessments.

Birds are one of the animal species given priority consideration when designing a wind farm. 

Since the site was identified in 1999, we have completed several years’ worth of surveys to identify the bird species and numbers that regularly use the wind farm site for roosting or feeding. These surveys are ongoing and will continue in the months and years ahead.

Over recent years the renewables industry, government organisations and academia have gathered a significant amount of data on the behaviours of the seabird species found off the coasts of Ireland and the UK, and how they interact with wind farms.

All this information, as well as regular stakeholder engagement and input, will be considered in developing the design of the Codling Wind Park project, and in the rigorous environmental assessments we are due to embark on this year. 

Mitigation will be incorporated both at the design stage of the project, which we are currently progressing, and once the impact assessment results are known to minimise impact levels.  In addition to this, key effects from the wind farm on certain receptors such as birds and marine mammals will be monitored either during or after construction, or both depending on the outcome of our assessments.

Environmental surveys and studies first began on the project in 1999 and have continued at specific times since then. More recently, the focus has been on building up a good understanding of the baseline environment in relation to the receptors that will be considered in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which will be submitted in support of the planning application. An EIA should be based on environmental information that is as up to date as possible, and on the most recent project design plans. It is therefore timely to utilise the information collected from desk-based assessment and surveys completed over the years together with the information derived from our ongoing and planned surveys to inform the EIA.   

To fully understand any potential impacts and co-existence opportunities and to guide appropriate mitigation responses, it is important that we work very closely with the marine communities, which is something we are totally committed to doing.

There are many examples around the world where existing offshore wind farms and fishing/marine communities co-exist very well. There is no reason why similar co-existence cannot happen between the Codling Wind Park project and all marine users – both recreational and commercial – along the east coast.

In developing the design of the offshore site, Codling Wind Park will be undertaking extensive surveys this year and in future years to understand the physical conditions of the site in better detail. The scope of the planned surveys includes investigation into both the ground conditions and the metocean conditions (principally wind, wave and current). With data from these surveys, and previous surveys, the project will gain a better understanding of the site conditions and how they change over time. This will allow the design to be developed accounting for the possibility of scour both during the construction phase and throughout the life of the wind farm.

The construction process is complex and requires highly skilled contractors. Codling Wind Park intends to procure the required services from contractors with a strong track record of delivering similar scopes of work in similar projects around the world. As part of this procurement process Codling Wind Park will assess each contractors’ approach to risk management, with a focus on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Quality. The project will select contractors that can demonstrate both competence in its approach and a track record of performance in these areas for similar scopes of work. In this manner we expect to work with the selected contractors to identify and mitigate potential risks of pollution during the construction phase and the design and planning phases of the project. The project will also monitor the environmental management practices of our contractors on a regular basis to ensure ongoing compliance with project and regulatory requirements. 

Community Benefit

We will create opportunities for local communities to input into the shaping of the fund, including the communities to be covered by it and other eligibility criteria. This will involve a detailed consultation process, which will be well advertised.

We will work in partnership with local communities to ensure transparency, fairness, and maximum community participation, in terms of how the fund is accessed and managed. 

Our ambition is to create a legacy for local communities and the best way of doing this is by working in partnership. 

Communities hosting wind farms have traditionally benefitted from local investment funds. A great example of this can be seen in the UK, where communities and companies have worked in partnership to maximise opportunities and create lasting legacies.

This has also been the case for communities closest to the many onshore wind farms that have been developed in Ireland in recent years. 

We are waiting to receive information from the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) in relation to Community Benefit Funds and offshore wind. 

Some of the details of the Community Benefit Fund – including the overall value of it – will be set out by Government as part of the terms and conditions of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme, or RESS, which are expected to be published later this year.

Generation

Innovations such as the integration of battery storage technologies into wind energy are an exciting and important element of the future energy mix. Combining wind and storage will offer new opportunities to increase wind energy production. Several pilot projects are underway to help provide a technological and commercial foundation for the implementation of battery storage into offshore wind farms. New and complementary technologies such as battery storage do not need to be developed as part of the wind farm itself.  Such projects can be developed and connected to the Irish grid independently and at a later date, to further enhance the benefits of the growing levels of renewable generation being connected to the system.

Codling Wind Park is being developed as a stand-alone offshore wind farm. However, new and complementary technologies such as hydrogen do not need to be developed as part of the wind farm itself.  Such projects can be developed and connected to the Irish grid independently and at a later date, to further enhance the benefits of the growing levels of renewable generation being connected to the system.

Codling Wind Park is being developed by Codling Wind Park Ltd., a 50/50 joint venture between Fred. Olsen Renewables and EDF Renewables and will be one of the largest energy infrastructure investments in Ireland, this decade.

All energy produced by Codling Wind Park will flow into the Irish electricity grid, for use by Irish consumers and businesses. 

Project Location

There are many offshore wind farms in the UK, for example, which are located at a distance of 13km or less from shore.

With the significant advances in wind turbine technology, we expect individual wind turbine tip heights to be between 250 metres and 320 metres. To give some idea of what this might look like, at our recent public exhibition (March 1-14) we provided photomontages from nine different viewpoints, using the minimum and maximum height of turbines expected.

A final decision on the wind farm layout, including the size and number of wind turbines, has not yet been made. The detailed Environmental Impact Assessment process, which we are currently going through, will help to inform this decision, along with further design and engineering work, engagement with suppliers and further public engagement and consultation.

Updated photomontages, reflecting what we expect the final wind farm layout to look like, will be made available as the project design progresses.

The cumulative impact of the Codling Wind Park project and any other nearby consented or proposed projects will be examined in detail in our Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR), in accordance with current guidance and as advised by regulators. The EIAR will include a Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (SLVIA) prepared by Chartered Landscape Architects in accordance with best practice and current guidance. 

Our first virtual exhibition on the project contained photomontages giving early indications of what the Codling project could look like from different points along the coast. These views include two potential wind farm layouts for Codling, but do not include images of what other developments might look like. Decisions on their potential layouts are a matter for those developers and it would not be appropriate for us to presume what they might look like.

Policy & Legislation

Potential stakeholders in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been identified, and the relevant ones received a copy of the offshore scoping document when it was issued in December last year. Based on our current understanding, transboundary effects may not be significant for this project and it is unlikely that extensive consultation with these stakeholders will be required. However, a further review of consultation requirements will be conducted once the wind farm design has been finalised and the scope of cumulative assessment has been agreed with An Bord Pleanála and key stakeholders.  

Miscellaneous

No decision has yet been made in terms of the manufacturer or type of turbine to be used at Codling Wind Park. As such, it is too early to say where the turbines will be made.

Codling Wind Park is being developed by Codling Wind Park Ltd., a 50/50 joint venture between Fred. Olsen Renewables and EDF Renewables and will be one of the largest energy infrastructure investments in Ireland, this decade.

The future sustainability of our tourism industry depends on the extent to which we protect the credibility of Ireland’s clean green image and our efforts to address the climate crisis. Codling Wind Park will reinforce our sustainability credentials and help to decarbonise our environment. In other more mature markets, such as the UK, they have shown that opportunities exist for eco-tourism development, for example by offering vessel tours to visit offshore wind farms and visitor centres. 

Potential impacts on tourism and opportunities for coastal communities will be considered as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report, which will be submitted with the planning application. In addition, we very much welcome ideas in terms of how tourism in the region can be enhanced through the Codling Wind Park project. 

There are a number of other projects in development within Europe with potential installed capacities of between 1,400 megawatts (MW) and more than 3,000MW.

Codling Wind Park is at the early stages of development and is expected to have a total installed capacity of between 900MW and 1,500MW. 

Due to the current restrictions associated with COVID-19, all members of the Codling Wind Park project team are working from home, in various locations. However, it is our intention to have a project office along the east coast, between Dublin and Wicklow.

It is anticipated that the size of the project team will rise from 35 (its current size) to approximately 50 by the end of the year. Many others will be engaged on a consultancy basis at different stages of the project and various other support services and facilities will be required to meet the project’s needs as it progresses.

During the construction phase of the project, more than 1,000 jobs will be created, the majority of these through contractors. Approximately 70 full-time, long-term roles will be created during the operations phase of the project and it is anticipated that these will be based locally. 

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