A consortium, in which DONG Energy holds a 50% share, has won the rights to develop an offshore wind facility off the south east coast of County Down. The Crown Estate and the UK’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment named the First Flight Wind consortium as the winners of a tender round to develop the project at an event in Belfast. The other members of the consortium are B9 and RES

The project has the potential to deliver up to 600MW of generating capacity for Northern Ireland. “This is DONG Energy’s first wind project in Northern Ireland but we have already signed a lease to use Belfast Harbour for the construction of offshore wind” said Benj Sykes, DONG Energy Wind UK’s country manager, who will also be the chairman of the consortium.

“This has enabled the harbour to be transformed into a bespoke facility for offshore wind construction, able to handle the huge vessels and component parts,” he said. “It’s currently nearing the end of construction and we will take over the lease at the beginning of 2013, using it for the offshore construction of our West of Duddon Sands project.”

DONG Energy is already building several projects across Northern Europe, including three under construction in the UK. Offshore wind is crucial for Northern Ireland to reach its target, as set by the Northern Ireland Executive, of 40% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and further progress beyond then.