Ireland’s ESB joins EDF in Neart Na Gaoithe offshore wind

Ireland’s ESB joins EDF in Neart Na Gaoithe offshore wind

Ireland’s ESB took a 50% stake in the 448MW Neart Na Gaoithe offshore wind farm off Scotland, joining EDF in the project that on Thursday confirmed Siemens Gamesa as its turbine supplier.

Irish state-owned utility ESB, which has signalled its ambition to be a major offshore wind player at home and elsewhere, paid an undisclosed sum for the half-share in Neart Na Gaoithe, which is due to enter service in 2023.

Announcing a start of construction for the project next year, EDF confirmed Siemens Gamesa will supply turbines, firming a previous preferred supplier deal.

The OEM will supply 54 of its SG 8.0-167 DD turbines, with a 15-year service agreement.

Pat O’Doherty, chief executive of ESB – which recently announced an offshore wind tie-up with Equinor in its home market – said: “Our 50% stake in Neart na Gaoithe fits entirely with ESB’s Brighter Future strategy to build a balanced low carbon generation portfolio of scale. Offshore wind is one of the main technologies underpinning the clean electricity systems that will power our societies into the future. “

Fred Olsen Windcarrier will install the turbines for the project, it was announced separately.

EDF bought Neart Na Gaoithe from original developer Mainstream Renewable Power in 2018. The project was among 2.3GW of Scottish offshore developments delayed by legal actions bought by conservation groups over potential impact on birdlife.

The project secured a 15-year Contract for Difference (CfD) in the UK’s first renewable auction in February 2015, at a record low price at the time of £114.39/MWh (at 2012 prices).