SSE Renewables has signed an agreement to develop a joint substation in Ireland that will serve a 520MW offshore wind farm and meet the power needs of a data centre.
The developer signed an agreement with Irish-owned Echelon Data Centres to develop a joint 220kV substation at the Avoca River Business Park, in Arklow.
The infrastructure will facilitate the development of Ireland’s first large-scale offshore wind farm, off the coast of County Wicklow with an export capacity of 520MW and Echelon’s DUB20 (Arklow) 100MW data centre.
The joint initiative marks the first time in Ireland that an offshore wind farm and a data centre have agreed to develop grid infrastructure.
The substation development is expected to require an investment of around €50m.
Upon completion, the proposed offshore wind farm and data centre will both directly connect to the Irish national grid via the new shared substation.
Sharing grid infrastructure and locating data centres closer to renewable sources of generation such as offshore wind delivers on a “key decarbonisation goal” set out in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan to facilitate regionally located data centres and minimise grid reinforcements.
It also helps deliver a Climate Action Plan target of installing 1GW of offshore wind by 2025.
The development agreement will support the delivery of 250 new jobs for Arklow, including the creation of up to 80 new jobs during the construction of the substation.
Welcoming the initiative, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin said: “This announcement is a welcome boost for Arklow; it not only provides new job opportunities, it also places Arklow at the heart of the green tech sector.
“This collaboration between renewable energy and tech will ensure that key decarbonisation targets contained in the Climate Action Plan are met and is a model which could be rolled out in other communities across the country.
“I would like to pay tribute to SSE Renewables and Echelon – having identified an opportunity to share infrastructure to promote sustainability, they worked collaboratively to ensure their vision became a reality.”
The 220kV substation will be developed and constructed on behalf of both developers by SSE Renewables.
The development of the substation for joint use will be subject to SSE Renewables securing planning permission via a future planning application.
SSE Renewables is developing Phase 2 of Arklow Bank Wind Park which will be located in a lease area situated six to 13km off Ireland’s County Wicklow coastline, to the east of Arklow.