GE Wind Energy and Airtricity report that construction is under way for the Arklow Bank offshore wind park, Ireland’s first offshore wind power project, and is expected to be completed by the end of October. Located about 10 kilometers off the coast of Arklow, Ireland, the project’s seven GE 3.6 MW machines will be the world’s first commercial application of offshore wind turbines over three MW in size, said developers.London, England – August 25, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Co-developed by GE Wind Energy and Airtricity, the Arklow wind park will be owned and operated by GE Wind Energy as a platform for demonstrating its new 3.6 MW technology. Airtricity, Ireland’s largest renewable energy company, holds an option to purchase the project after the demonstration is complete, approximately two years after first operation. “We’re confident that the Arklow Bank wind project will provide a showcase demonstration of how abundant offshore winds can play a greater role in contributing to the world’s ever-growing energy needs,” said Steve Zwolinski, president of GE Wind Energy. The 25 MW Arklow Bank project was first introduced by Airtricity as phase one of a much larger offshore project which Airtricity proposes to build over the coming years. Airtricity’s offshore wind project proposals have been made possible under a foreshore lease which can provide for more than 520 MW of offshore wind power on the Arklow Bank. “This is a landmark demonstration project for Airtricity, GE Wind Energy and Ireland in general,” Airtricity Chief Executive Eddie O’Connor said. “This first phase of the project is expected to produce enough clean wind energy to serve the annual needs of about 16,000 average Irish households. When fully completed, the project promises to be a considerable source of renewable energy for Ireland while also making a positive contribution to Ireland’s renewable clean energy policies.” Components for the 25 MW project’s wind turbines are currently arriving at the Port of Rosslare, Ireland, where coordination of the offshore installation is taking place. The project’s nacelles and hubs were among the first components to begin arriving at the site. The remaining components are arriving at Rosslare harbor directly from GE’s suppliers. The wind park will be connected to the public grid in Arklow where GE Wind Energy will also establish a permanent station to facilitate operation and maintenance of the wind turbines. GE unveiled the first commercial prototype 3.6 MW wind turbine during 2002. Installed on land as a test bed, this machine is currently producing power for Spanish energy supplier Iberdrola. Expressly designed for offshore applications, the 3.6 MW machine is one of the largest wind turbines developed to date, and represents wind power industry’s capitalization on economies of scale.