Boost for offshore wind project that could supply green energy to 250,000 homes

Miguel Navarro | Stone | Getty Images

A planned offshore wind farm in Irish waters has received a major boost in the form of a "significant investment".

Belgian offshore wind farm developer Parkwind said it would become a strategic partner in the Oriel Wind Farm, it was announced in a statement Wednesday.

The proposed 55 turbine project is set to be located in the North West Irish Sea, 22 kilometers off the coast of Dundalk. With a capacity of 330 megawatts (MW), it will be able to supply green energy to 250,000 Irish homes, according to Oriel Windfarm Limited.

"In our search for a strategic partner, several international offshore wind players were interested in acquiring a stake in Oriel Wind Farm," Brian Britton, founder and board member of the Oriel Wind Farm, said in a statement. "We believe that Parkwind can bring in the necessary knowledge and pioneering spirit to bring this project to a successful end," he added.

For its part, Parkwind said it had developed and built three offshore wind farms in the Belgian concession zone in the North Sea. The wind farms are also operated by the business and send about 550 MW of energy to Belgium.

"We are confident we can play a vital role for the emerging Irish offshore wind industry," Peter Caluwaerts, Oriel project director, said. "It is our ambition to finalize the construction of the Oriel Wind Farm in 2020, thus assisting Ireland in reaching its 2020 renewable energy targets." Ireland wants emissions in 2020 to be 20 percent lower than 2005 level.

Europe is a world leader in offshore wind energy. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the U.K. is home to the world's biggest offshore wind market, followed by Germany and China.