Local Communities to Learn About NI’s First Offshore Wind Farm

Local communities learn about consultation for Northern Ireland’s first offshore wind farm

REPRESENTATIVES from community organisations, local politicians and other key stakeholders gathered in Newcastle today (25 October) as part of the launch of First Flight Wind’s proposed programme of community consultation for Northern Ireland’s first offshore wind farm. It will be located off the coast of County Down.

First Flight Wind hs launched its community consultation programme at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle. Pictured from First Flight Wind are Sacha Workman, Elias Dencker and Dr. Carolyn Heeps.

Today’s event allowed the First Flight Wind team to outline and explain its plans to engage with local communities and stakeholders over the next two and a half years in the run up to a consent application being made, potentially in 2015. Speakers from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and The Crown Estate were able to outline the policy background and the development process for the project.

The event also gave attendees the opportunity to view the First Flight Wind exhibition which will now be displayed at six Information Day events in November in Kilkeel, Castlewellan, Carlingford, Downpatrick, Newcastle and Ardglass.

Dr Carolyn Heeps, Project Development Manager for First Flight Wind said: “The start of our consultation process marks an important milestone in this exciting project.  Many important details about the final nature, scale and location of the project remain to be determined during our assessment and consultation phase.  We strongly believe that early and open discussion with local residents, business groups and a wide range of interest groups will result in a well-designed project that will deliver benefits to the local area as well as providing a secure and renewable source of energy.”

Sacha Workman, Community Liaison Lead for First Flight Wind continued: “We recognise that the development of an offshore wind farm off Co. Down will generate considerable local interest and debate. Our consultation with the community and other stakeholders is therefore very important. We are looking forward to working with the community and other stakeholders over the next two and a half years and we are inviting all parts of the community to come and find out what this programme involves so that we can design a project that is seen as a positive asset by everyone.”

Information about the offshore wind project will be publicly available through the project website, social media platforms, the First Flight Wind Newsletter and at the Information Days that will be held at different venues in the local area [1]. Designated Information Points will also give the public access to copies of specific documents relevant to the project.

First Flight Wind is a consortium comprising B9 Energy, DONG Energy and RES. It has been selected to develop an offshore wind farm off the south coast of County Down in Northern Ireland, following a tender process by The Crown Estate. Subject to obtaining all necessary consents from DoE and DETI, the project could deliver up to 600MW of generating capacity for Northern Ireland.

Information Days will be held between 10am – 9pm on the dates and venues listed below:

Kilkeel/ Monday 5th November/ Nautilus Centre

Castlewellan/ Tuesday 6th November/ Community Centre

Carlingford/ Wednesday 7th November/ Heritage Centre

Downpatrick/ Thursday 8th November/ St Michael’s Hall, Irish Street

Newcastle/ Monday 12th November/ Slieve Donard Hotel

Ardglass/ Tuesday 13th November/ Community Centre

Information about First Flight Wind will be made available at the following Information Points:

Annalong Barbican

Ardglass Community Centre

Carlingford Tourist Office

Castlebellingham Post Office

Castlewellan Library

Clogherhead RLNI Shop

Downpatrick Library

Dundalk Tourist Office

Dundrum Post Office

Kilkeel Nautilus Centre

Kilkeel Library

Newcastle Library

Newcastle Tourist Information Centre

Newry Library

Portaferry Library

Warrenpoint Library

Portavogie Post Office.

All information materials are will also be available online at www.firstflightwind.com