Harnessing clean energy to power Ireland's sustainable future

Source Galileo are progressing the Mac Lir Offshore Wind Farm project in support of the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan 2023, which aims to have 5 GW of offshore wind in operation ahead of 2030 and reach net-zero no later than 2050.

collection of wind turbines at sea

Click on the link below to open the Mac Lir project brochure

 

Mac Lir Project Brochure download

Net Zero by 2050

The Climate Action Plan 2023 is underpinned by laws passed in Ireland that contain binding commitments to reach net-zero no later than 2050 (Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021).

Large-scale offshore energy projects like Mac Lir will help Ireland move toward net zero, leading to lower carbon levels and cleaner air. Offshore wind energy will provide a more sustainable energy system for future generations, and will be another important step in reducing Ireland’s ongoing, unsustainable reliance on imported fossil fuels.

The Mac Lir project can also help Ireland to avoid paying potentially substantial fines* that apply to EU Member States who fail to meet their binding targets under the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.

Location

At their nearest point, Mac Lir’s proposed wind turbines will be over 22km off the east coast, lying entirely outside Ireland’s 12nm foreshore limit. This area has been strategically selected to reduce visibility from the coast, limit environmental and economic impacts, and harness stronger wind speeds that are found further offshore. A marine geophysical survey for the project, completed in 2023, has validated the site as being suitable for fixed-bottom turbine foundation technology.

Mac Lir map
Mac Lir Offshore Wind Farm - Turbine Array Location

Capacity

To better understand the feasibility of the proposed wind farm in this area and to inform early consultation, Source Galileo’s team has developed a number of potential array layouts that would be suitable for the site.

Our current base case layout proposes an installed capacity of 700 MW+ (c. 15% of Ireland’s 2030 commitment). Based on the 15MW offshore wind turbines that are available in the market today, this would equate to approximately 49 turbines, which could be installed on fixed foundations in average water depths of just over 60m.

An installation of this scale has the potential to deliver enough renewable electricity to meet the needs of over 600,000** households and would offset over one million tonnes*** of harmful carbon emissions each year.

The team will continue to use information gained through our ongoing environmental assessments and from feedback received through consultation to further optimise design across the 174sq.km site, potentially even facilitating a capacity beyond 700MW+.

Benefits:

Mac Lir Offshore Wind Farm will positively contribute to Ireland’s binding target of a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (from a 2018 baseline) and carbon neutrality by 2050.

A community benefit fund will be established for the project and will be used for the wider economic, environmental, social, and cultural well-being of the local community. This fund will ensure that there is real and quantifiable financial support made available for use by the local community each year throughout the lifetime of the project.

Mac Lir is already contributing economically in a positive way. An Irish based team has been assembled by Source Galileo to work on the project. Their activities to date have been supported by a variety of Irish based businesses, all working to advance the project. As development work progresses over the coming years significant further resources and services will be required to support the project.

In future years not only will Mac Lir create jobs locally during the construction and operation phase, the project will also contribute towards creating a new nationwide industry for Ireland. This will in turn maximise the local economic opportunity that will arise from the deployment of offshore wind and help with the creation of sustainable blue communities.

By making use of our abundant and renewable wind resource to generate electricity to supply homes and businesses, we will reduce Ireland’s ongoing unsustainable reliance on imported fossil fuels to meet our energy needs. The delivery of clean renewable energy is also required to support a nationally and regionally growing population, and is needed to meet the increasing demand for electricity which is growing year on year.

Utilising wind as a clean and renewable fuel source means we will dramatically reduce our need to burn fossil fuels and reduce our carbon emissions too. It will also help towards maintaining cleaner air and a healthier environment now and for future generations.

Surveys in and around the project will provide a greater understanding of the marine environment, adding to the knowledge base for the area into the future.

*To avoid EU fines in 2020, Ireland procured statistical transfers from two other Member States at a total cost of €50 million. Statistical transfer is a mechanism under the EU framework that allows a Member State that has not met its renewable energy targets, to purchase renewable energy quantities from a Member State that has exceeded its targets. In 2020 1,000 GWh of renewable energy was purchased by Ireland from Denmark for €12.5 million and 2,500 GWh of renewable energy was purchased by Ireland from Estonia for €37.5 million. Fund transfers of €50 million were paid by Ireland and completed by end of 2020.

**Based on projected installed capacity of 700MW, capacity factor of 50% and SEAI key statistics 2021 (5,043kWh/household)

***Based on projected annual output of wind farm and SEAI Key Statistics for Electricity, "CO₂ emissions intensity of electricity" (348 gCO₂/kWh)