GE Wind Energy and Airtricity, Ireland’s largest renewable energy company, plan to develop a 25- megawatt wind farm in the Irish Sea to provide power for the Irish electricity grid.
The project, to be located about 10 kilometers off the coast of Arklow, Ireland, will feature seven of GE Wind Energy’s new, 3.6-megawatt wind turbines. The new machines feature a rotor diameter of 104 metres and a hub height of 73.5 metres.
According to GE, this will be the first offshore application of this technology and the first offshore wind project with turbines above 3-megawatt rated capacity. The project is expected to generate enough electricity to serve approximately 16,000 Irish households.
Final approval for the Arklow project is expected shortly from the Irish Minister of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. Installation of the wind turbines in the Irish Sea is proposed to begin this summer. Commercial service is anticipated by the end of the year.
Initially, GE Wind Energy will operate the facility as a demonstration site. Under the terms of the agreement, Airtricity will hold an option to purchase the project after its demonstration is complete, approximately two years after first operation.
The first commercial prototype 3.6-megawatt wind turbine was unveiled by GE in 2002. Installed on land in September 2002 as a test bed, this machine is currently producing power for Spanish energy supplier Iberdrola.