Oriel Windfarm to lodge planning application

Leuven, May 20, 2024 - In a key milestone in the plan to deliver one of the first commercial scale offshore wind farms in Ireland, Oriel Windfarm will lodge a planning application with An Bord Pleanála (ABP) later this week for its proposed offshore wind farm in the North Irish Sea.

The Oriel wind farm project will be located off the north Co Louth coast and will comprise 25 wind turbines, with a combined generating capacity of up to 375 megawatts (MW), which is the equivalent of the energy needed to power about 300,000 homes, reducing the country’s carbon emissions and its reliance on imported fossil fuels.

The planning application, which is being lodged directly with An Bord Pleanála, also includes the construction of offshore and onshore electricity substations, and all of the necessary submarine and underground cables that are required for the operation of the proposed new green energy project.

Oriel, which is being developed by JERA Nex through its wholly owned subsidiary Parkwind, and ESB, was one of the first Irish offshore wind farms to be planned.

“This is a hugely significant moment, not just for Oriel and for the Northeast region, but for the entire Irish energy sector and the wider Irish economy,” said Garrett Connell, Parkwind Country Manager for Ireland.

“We have been working on making Oriel wind farm a reality for nearly 20 years and a huge amount of work has been completed to get to this key project milestone. Throughout this time, we have engaged and consulted with local communities and other stakeholders on many occasions, and we would encourage them to participate in this planning process, and make their views known to An Bord Pleanála," Mr Connell added.

The planning process is expected to take up to 12 months. If planning is granted, construction of the Oriel wind farm could begin in 2026, with the wind farm potentially becoming operational in 2028. Based on these timelines, Oriel would become Ireland’s first operational commercial scale offshore wind farm.

Advertisements informing the public of Oriel’s intention to lodge a planning application are appearing in certain national and local media outlets this week.

The planning process for the development of offshore wind farm requires that a project applies directly to An Bord Pleanála. There is then an eight-week period, during which parties can make an observation, or a submission to ABP.

While Oriel did not secure a State subsidised contract as part of last year’s Offshore Renewable Energy Support Scheme auction, this did not affect the overall development of the project, as the electricity that will be generated by Oriel’s wind turbines will be sold into the Irish electricity market.

“Subject to planning permission, Oriel Windfarm will have a significant impact in helping to meet Ireland’s target of having 80% of its electricity generated by renewable sources by 2030,” according to Conor Martin, Investment Manager on behalf of ESB. “The State’s Climate Action Plan 2023 envisages at least seven gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030 and Oriel can play a key role in achieving that goal by being in the vanguard of the delivery of Irish offshore wind generation on a commercial scale.”

The development and operation of the Oriel wind farm project will also deliver significant local economic and community benefits to the Northeast region. The project will include a significant multi-million euro community fund that will be designed to benefit the local region and will be in operation throughout the life of the wind farm.

Oriel was granted a Maritime Area Consent (MAC) by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan T.D. in December of 2022. A MAC is a new type of formal consent that must be granted by the Irish government before a proposed offshore wind farm project can apply for planning permission to An Bord Pleanála.

The awarding of the MAC meant that Oriel could formally engage with representatives of ABP in recent months on the process of making a planning application.

The final design of the project has been based on a series of detailed scientific studies, carried out over many years, coupled with consultation with local and national stakeholders. The planning application including an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and a Natura Impact Statement (NIS). These will be made available online at www.orielwindfarm-marineplanning.ie after the application has been lodged this Friday, May 24th. Copies of the application and all supporting documents can also be viewed for eight weeks from June 4th during public opening hours at the following locations:

• The Offices of An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 V902.

• The Offices of Louth County Council, County Hall, Millennium Centre, Dundalk, Co. Louth, A91 KFW6.

About JERA Nex

JERA Nex is a company created by JERA to scale renewable energy for a sustainable future. JERA Nex combines the resilience of JERA, one of the world’s largest electricity producers, with the agility and focus of a dedicated renewables business that can act at the pace required to drive the global energy transition.

JERA Nex invests in, currently owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy assets, with a portfolio over 3GW that includes offshore wind, onshore wind and solar, as well as battery storage. This includes Parkwind, its wholly owned subsidiary. Headquartered in London, and with centres of excellence in Belgium, Japan, Taiwan and the US, our team of more than 300 renewable and energy industry experts combines global knowhow and experience with the local expertise and knowledge necessary to deliver successful projects.

Find out more at www.jeranex.com

For JERA Nex media inquiries please contact: communications@jeranex.com

About Parkwind

Parkwind is an integrated offshore wind business that develops, finances and operates offshore wind farms. Since April 2024, Parkwind has been operating as part of JERA Nex, the renewable energy subsidiary of JERA Inc, one of the largest power generational companies in the world. Together, Parkwind and JERA have more than a decade of experience and over 750 MW of offshore wind assets under operational management in Belgium, Germany, the UK, Taiwan, and Japan, in addition to an extensive pipeline of offshore wind projects in development around the world including in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Japan, France, Norway, Greece, and Australia/New Zealand.

Committed to making green energy available and affordable for everyone through its unique approach of covering the entire value chain of offshore wind, Parkwind has established itself as a reliable and competitive partner to communities, governments and suppliers globally.

For media inquiries, please contact communication@parkwind.eu

About ESB

ESB has been Ireland's foremost energy company since it was established in 1927, driven by an unwavering commitment to power society forward and deliver a net-zero future for our customers and the communities we serve.

Launched in 2022, its ‘Driven to Make a Difference: Net Zero by 2040’ strategy sets out a clear roadmap for ESB to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.

As a strong, diversified utility, ESB operates across the electricity market, from generation through transmission and distribution, to supply of customers in addition to using our networks to carry fibre for telecommunications. ESB is a leading Irish utility with a regulated asset base of approximately €12.0 billion (comprising ESB Networks at €9.7 billion and NIE Networks at €2.3 billion), a 30 % share of generation in the all-island market and supply businesses supplying electricity and gas to over two million customer accounts throughout the island of Ireland and Great Britain.

As at 31 December 2022, ESB Group employed over 8,000 people.

For ESB media inquiries please contact: paul.hand@esb.ie


Maarten van der Horst

Head of Projects

Maarten joined Parkwind and more specifically the Oriel project team in early 2021. He brings 17 years of experience in the energy industry having worked at Engie's renewables arm first as an engineer, later as offshore specialist.


Wim Verrept

IT Services Manager

He joined Parkwind in 2016 as risk manager, during the installation phase of Nobelwind. Since then his responsibilities have expanded to include IT and the QHSSE department. Before joining the company, he worked as a risk manager at large financial institution in Belgium.


Ingrid Dony

HR Manager

Ingrid joined Parkwind in 2013 and manages the Human Resources department. Her expertise in corporate HR has created the foundations in Parkwind’s evolving and rapidly growing employee and consultant base. Her team manages everything from payroll to employee development and communications. She has been instrumental in preparing the organization for international expansion and the digitalization of numerous HR legal and administrative tools.


Dirk Dewettinck

Head of R&D

At Parkwind since 2015 he manages the engineering resources involved in project development, design and construction. He was closely involved in the technical management of the Nobelwind and Northwester 2 projects. Prior to joining Parkwind, he was involved in other offshore wind projects, working for a major wind turbine supplier, and prior to that he worked for more than 15 years with major engineering contractors in projects around the world, mainly in the conventional power generation construction and services (steam, gas, nuclear).


Clément Helbig de Balzac

Project Director Arcadis Ost 1

Joining Parkwind in 2011 as a project finance specialist and he was heavily involved in the financing and construction of Northwind and Nobelwind. Thereafter, as project finance manager, he led the financing process of Northwester 2 and the refinancing of three operational offshore wind farms of the Parkwind portfolio. He is also involved in business development projects for his expertise lies in financing processes, construction contract negotiation, contracting strategy and development and construction management.


Edward Van Melkebeek

Head of Technology

Since joining Parkwind in 2018, he has been leading the Technology team responsible for leveraging Parkwind’s know-how in civil, electrical and WTG packages to development of new projects. The team also performs a supply chain role, managing technical aspects of project contracts. Previously, he has built extensive practical and managerial experience in the offshore construction business for over 22 years at a global leading dredging and offshore contractor strongly active in the offshore wind industry.


Mathias Van Steenwinkel

Business Development Manager

He joined Parkwind in 2012 working on financial modelling, PPA negotiations and the overall financial close processes. Since 2016, he is heading the growing business development department playing a key role in the identification of new projects, global partnerships and tender preparations.


Kristof Verlinden

O&M Manager

With Parkwind since 2010, he is responsible for the asset management and production management of all of Parkwind’s offshore operational assets. The O&M organization plays a pivotal role in project development incorporating strategic insight to ensure frictionless O&M operations from the moment of first production. The team also supplies external support services, is involved in numerous R&D initiatives with universities and wind farm performance analysis using state of the art data systems. Kristof joined Parkwind with an engineering background in international service support business and wind turbine driveline design validation.


Pieter Marinus

General Counsel and Investment Relations Director

As a former Parkwind board member, he has been involved in the financial close and follow-up of every Parkwind project as well as in their acquisition and divestment processes. Prior to joining Parkwind’s management in 2017, he was also in charge of multiple other renewable energy investments and financings around Europe, notably as Investment Director at Korys.


Peter Caluwaerts

Head of Engagement Management

After years of building extensive experience in large construction works, he started his career in offshore wind in 2010 by taking up the role of CLO of Parkwind, responsible for regulatory, legal and contracting matters for Belwind and Northwind windfarms. Since then, as Project Director, he’s led the Northwester 2 project completed in 2020 and is now responsible for Parkwind’s Irish projects Oriel and Clogherhead. He plays an instrumental role in organizing Parkwind’s international expansion and growth.


Eric Antoons


Before joining the company in 2013, he worked for one of the largest power and gas suppliers in Belgium, in both operational and executive functions. Joining Parkwind in 2013 as COO, he supervised the construction of three wind farm projects and the considerable growth of O&M activities. Since becoming co-CEO in 2016, he has also developed Parkwind’s R&D activities to the forefront partnering with universities and several technology start-ups.


François Van Leeuw


He joined Parkwind as CFO in 2009 and has been leading the financing and development of Parkwind's first wind farms. In his role he’s particularly involved in new business and partnership development for Parkwind globally. He is also serving as the chairman of the Belgian Offshore Platform, the non-profit association of investors and owners of Belgian wind farms.


Paul Tummers


Arriving to Parkwind in 2019, after a broad career in energy and infrastructure, he has taken a leading role in Parkwind’s international expansion from both corporate finance and organizational restructuring.