2.2GW Rhiannon consultation starts

Developer Celtic Array has kicked off public consultation on its giant 2.2GW Rhiannon wind power project in the Irish Sea.

The Round 3 development, foreseen to be made up of between 150-450 turbines installed off the Isle of Anglesey, could power 1.5 million homes, according to the developer's calculations.

"Celtic Array has been busy completing environmental and technical surveys and assessments and have now identified the offshore project and completed an offshore Environmental Impact Assessment which identifies the likely significant effects of the proposed development," says Celtic Array, a joint venture between UK utility Centrica and Denmark's Dong Energy.

"We are now ready to consult on this with the local community prior to submitting any planning and consent applications."

Covering an area of 2,200km2 in water depths ranging from 36-83 metres, Rhiannon is located 19km (12 miles) from the Isle of Anglesey, 34km (21 miles) from the Isle of Man and 60km (37 miles) from the Cumbrian coast.

First announced in January 2010, Rhiannon has been the subject of a two-year assessment into the "physical, environmental and engineering constraints" of building out in the Irish Sea.

The consultation on Rhiannon will run until 19 May, a period of 61 days, with construction on the cards to start as early as 2017 if planning permission is granted by the UK authorities.

Celtic Array and partner National Grid have earmarked the Anglesey village of Rhosgoch as a preferred site for the project's onshore substation.