Planning permission has been granted for an operations and maintenance facility for phase two of the Arklow Bank Wind Park offshore energy project.

The operations base is to be located in an area known as The Old Shipyard on south dock in Arklow, Co Wicklow.

The decision makes SSE Renewables, which is behind the plan, the first offshore developer to secure planning permission for an offshore wind operations and maintenance facility in Ireland and represents a key milestone in the project.

The development, approved by Wicklow County Council, will lead to the regeneration of the site and will result in around 80 long-term jobs being created.

These positions will include site managers, supervisors, technicians, vessel crew, control room operators and engineers, with hundreds more jobs to be created during the construction phase of the facility and the windpark itself.

"We are extremely pleased to have planning permission granted for the Operations and Maintenance Facility which will support Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2's offshore infrastructure," said Kaj Christiansen, Development Manager, SSE Renewables.

"This means that another critical piece of the puzzle is now in place as we work to deliver this project by 2028."

The operations and maintenance facility will include a four-storey building incorporating an education centre, quayside and berth facilities for four crew transfer vessels and a pontoon system for safe boarding, loading and unloading.

The development follows the granting recently of planning permission for the development of the onshore grid infrastructure for the project.

Once complete, the phase 2 of the wind park will be capable of generating up to 800MW of electricity for the grid.

In recent weeks, SSE Renewables also submitted a Maritime Area Consent Application (MAC) to the Department of Environment for the project.

The Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 is one of a number of new offshore windfarms planned for along the east coast of Ireland in the coming years.