Ireland - Services

Services

Renewable Energy

RPS has been involved in the renewables industry in Ireland and the UK for the last 20 years and has

developed a wide ranging capability and expertise in the following areas:

Planning (conventional and strategic infrastructure)

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) & environmental impact assessment (EIA)

Resource assessment & project appraisal for on and offshore wind, solar, wave, tidal and CHP / biomass

Technical & environmental due diligence of existing portfolios

Innovation & sustainability

Geotechnical & hydrogeological studies and risk assessments

Offshore geomorphological & modelling studies

Onshore & offshore wind turbine foundation design

Mechanical & electrical design

Grid connection, licensing & consents

Project management, risk management & contract delivery

Project & stakeholder communications

Health & safety

We have an understanding of the marketplace and involvement in all aspects of planning and development. RPS brings a unique insight to the requirements for producing fundable, buildable designs through our integrated team of planners, engineers, scientists and communications experts.

RPS has been successfully delivering planning permissions and consents for onshore wind energy projects across the UK and Ireland for over 10 years. We have undertaken detailed international studies on offshore renewables for the European Commission (BEAGINS study) and the Governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland (ISLES study) which are laying the foundations for future large scale deployment in Western European waters.

We have advised on national energy policy and economics including the possible conversion to bioenergy from agricultural residues, growth in biodiesel crops and other renewable fuels.

Case Studies

Baseline Environmental Assessment for Grid in the Irish and North Seas

 

 

The Baseline Environmental Assessment for the EU Offshore Electricity Grid in the Irish and North Seas (BEAGINS) was published in 2017. It was authored jointly by RPS and ECOFYS who were tasked by the European Commission to prepare an environmental baseline study based on a regional concept of renewable energy sources, energy storage and a meshed electricity grid in the North and Irish Seas. This was to ensure that environmental concerns and impacts were appropriately considered at an early stage in the development of such an offshore energy grid system.

RPS, using in-house GIS resources, was engaged in accessing and compiling data registers and a data catalogue to support desktop research into the baseline conditions. The project team also undertook significant consultation with the target Member States to elicit feedback on the Regional Plan and the scope of the baseline study.

The study focused particularly on opportunities for coordination between Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. The development of an offshore renewable energy system, including grid infrastructure, in the Irish and North Seas represents a significant opportunity towards meeting the European Union’s energy goals. The region has a vast renewable energy potential that could provide a significant share of Europe’s power supply by 2030. The study and associated report is intended to inform any future plans for renewable energy generation, energy storage, grid cables and associated equipment in the Irish and North Seas.

Six recommendations were identified from the baseline study to set building blocks towards creating a backdrop where coordination is facilitated across member states. These include:

Development of an appropriate planning framework

Coordinated infrastructure roll-out

Development of an appropriate management framework

Data management and storage

Carn Hill Wind Farm, Belfast

 

 

This £20m wind farm consisting of six turbines is located at Carn Hill Newtownabbey, outside Belfast, and was developed by Gaelectric Ltd. RPS was commissioned to assist with the planning application and EIA process including Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment and residential amenity issues such as noise.

RPS liaised with statutory bodies to resolve outstanding concerns and provided clarifications and additional supporting information where necessary, such as a residential amenity impact assessment. All submissions were made by RPS to DOE (NI) Planning Service.

The wind farm was successfully granted planning permission and RPS further assisted Gaelectric Ltd with regards to subsequent planning conditions leading to the successful development of the wind farm on site. The wind farm has been operational since 2013.

Opportunity & Constraints Mapping – Offshore Renewable Energy

 

 

RPS was appointed by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) to provide expert support to the Offshore Renewable Energy Steering Group (ORESG) for the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP).

One of the main studies undertaken by RPS during this appointment was the production of an Opportunity and Constraints Mapping Study for the deployment of offshore renewable energy in Ireland. This involved working closely with SEAI, DCCAE, the Marine Institute and various government departments and agencies to develop an adaptive GIS spatial modelling tool. This model allowed the creation of maps indicating areas suitable for offshore renewable energy development, taking into consideration other legitimate users of the sea in terms of environmental, industry and socio-cultural interests.

The GIS spatial model was used to interpret the dataset criteria and produce several maps detailing areas with potential for offshore renewable energy development. The adaptive modelling tool allows users to change and alter the relative influence values applied to dataset criteria based on the type of renewable energy device technology that is being considered, as well as offering the ability to add additional dataset criteria to the analysis. The modelling tool’s flexibility and adaptability gives decision-makers the ability to actively use the model, edit criteria and adapt to changes. This creates inherently dynamic sector experiences in terms of data availability, policy and regulatory objectives, specific device technologies, public perception and industry requirements.

The study ultimately presented spatial mapping outputs of an adaptable model that can be used in the process of designating zones suitable for development. The mapping outputs showed areas of high and low constraint for development and will help inform the process of designating zones suitable for offshore renewable energy development in Ireland.