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Rosslare Europort Applies for Marine Area Consent, as Design Contract awarded for Offshore Renewable Energy Hub

11th December 2023
Rosslare Europort - the Design Contract has been awarded for the Offshore Renewable Energy Hub at the County Wexford port
Rosslare Europort - the Design Contract has been awarded for Offshore Renewable Energy Hub at the County Wexford port

Rosslare Europort has announced two major milestones in the Co Wexford port’s progress towards becoming Ireland’s 'Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub'.

The Port Authority Iarnród Éireann today formally applied to the new Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA) for Marine Area Consent (MAC).

Additionally, it was announced that the contract for the design of an ORE hub at the port was awarded to Nicholas O'Dwyer (NOD) and partners Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions Consultants (GDG), renowned for their expertise and specialisation in civil engineering and marine projects.

Rosslare Europort envisions becoming the) (ORE) hub to service Ireland and Europe's wider emerging offshore wind industry.

The initiative from Rosslare Europort aligns with the government's ambitious offshore wind targets, which include the delivery of 5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030 and an additional 2GW of capacity for non-grid uses to be in development by 2030. With an estimated completion cost of circa €200 million, the proposed plans for the ORE hub can potentially revolutionise the Southeast Region's economy through new local industry, supply-chain development and job creation.

Today’s two milestones follow the recent granting of a foreshore licence from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, which has facilitated the commencement of an extensive programme of site investigation works at the port are getting underway.

The successful design team will lead the development of a comprehensive design and progress the various planning and statutory consenting applications. The design will encompass key engineering elements, including quay walls, piling, breakwaters, surfacing, services, a new small boat harbour and ancillary facilities, while the planning and consenting elements include obtaining a Marine Area Consent from MARA and preparation and submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment Report, Appropriate Assessment and planning application to An Bord Pleanála.

Key project elements of the proposed development include:

  • Minimum circa 20 hectares of land reclamation
  • A 330m long heavy lift berth to accommodate ORE installation vessels
  • A 240m long Roll-On Roll-Off berth to facilitate component delivery
  • Dredging approach channel to an effective depth of -10m Chart Datum with a declared depth of -9mCD
  • Main berth pocket for Staging and Installation vessels with dredged depth of -12mCD with a declared depth of -11mCD
  • Small boat harbour with enhanced access from deeper water
  • Operations & Maintenance facilities to include warehousing, offices and car parking
  • Access facilities to accommodate potential future rail spur connection to site.
  • New access road to small craft harbour and site access to the ORE facility

At the contract announcement, Glenn Carr, Director of Commercial Business Units for Iarnród Éireann, Port Authority of Rosslare Europort, expressed the significance of the proposed project, stating, "The Irish Government has been accelerating policy on renewable offshore wind energy. Just last month, Minister Eamon Ryan announced the publication of an 'indicative roadmap' outlining a timetable towards Ireland's next offshore wind energy auction – ORESS 2.1, which will take place off Ireland's south coast and procure up to 900MW of offshore wind."

Glenn Carr, Director of Commercial Business Units for Iarnród Éireann, Port Authority of Rosslare EuroportGlenn Carr, Director of Commercial Business Units for Iarnród Éireann, Port Authority of Rosslare Europort

Carr added: "The development of the Rosslare Europort ORE hub is critical to support ORESS 1 (Ireland’s first offshore wind auction) and ORESS 2.1 and all future auctions. The delivery of this vital port infrastructure required a specialist team of leading engineers with a strong track record in specialist marine projects. We are delighted to have the combined engineering expertise of Gavin and Doherty and Nicholas O'Dwyer onboard."

Jim Oliver, Managing Director of Nicholas O'Dwyer an RSK company, conveyed his delight for the project, "We are honoured to have been selected for a project of such importance in advancing Ireland's ambitious pursuit of its 2030 renewable energy goals. The visionary approach demonstrated by the Rosslare Europort team is truly commendable, reflecting a strategic foresight that will undoubtedly play a critical role in supporting the growth of Ireland's offshore wind farms and positioning Rosslare Europort to efficiently serve European projects as well."

Paul Doherty, the Director and founder of Gavin and Doherty, emphasised, "GDG has an impressive track record in successfully delivering offshore wind projects worldwide. This particular project exemplifies the extensive capabilities and expertise that GDG brings to our clients. It underscores the global presence of both GDG and our parent company the Venterra Group. Our Ports and Harbour and Marine Advisory teams, both based in Ireland, specialise in marine engineering and environmental consenting, and can draw on the collective knowledge of our engineering expertise across our global group companies when required. Strengthening our longstanding collaboration with Iarnród Éireann, as demonstrated by projects like the Rosslare Europort ORE hub, our team is eager to continue partnering with clients to implement critical infrastructure to support Ireland and global ambitions within the offshore renewable wind energy sector.”

Rosslare Europort's strategic location, whilst within proximity of planned developments in Irish and UK waters, also positions it as a critical player in servicing offshore projects throughout Europe. The port aims to facilitate the various stages of offshore wind projects, from assembly and staging to ongoing operation and maintenance and future decommissioning.

In the preliminary design phase, this transformative project is set to progress to public consultation in 2024. Following participatory engagement with the public and wider stakeholders, the project design will be finalised, with a planning application intended for submission to An Bord Pleanála in 2024. Construction is scheduled for 2025/26, with project completion anticipated in 2027. Team

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About Rosslare Europort

2021 sees Rosslare Europort hitting a new record with a total of 36 shipping services a week operating from the port making it one of the premier Irish ports serving the European Continent. Rosslare Europort is a gateway to Europe for the freight and tourist industries. It is strategically located on the sunny south-east coast of Ireland.

Rosslare is within a 90-minute driving radius of major Irish cities; Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Rosslare Europort is a RoRo, RoPax, offshore and bulk port with three RoRo berths with a two-tier linkspan, we also have a dedicated offshore bulk berth.

Exports in Rosslare Europort comprise mainly of fresh products, food, pharmaceuticals, steel, timber and building supplies. While imports are largely in the form of consumer goods such as clothes, furniture, food, trade vehicles, and electronics.

The entire Europort is bar-swept to 7.2 meters, allowing unrestricted access to vessels with draughts up to 6.5 metres. Rosslare Europort offers a comprehensive service including mooring, stevedoring and passenger-car check-in for RoRo shipping lines. It also provides facilities for offshore, dry bulk and general cargo.

The port currently has twice-daily round services to the UK and direct services to the continent each day. Rosslare Europort has a fleet of Tugmasters service, fork-lift trucks, tractors and other handling equipment to cater for non-standard RoRo freight.