Thursday 19 July 2018

Offshore wind development not supported, claims SSE chief

Stephen Wheeler, SSE Ireland
Stephen Wheeler, SSE Ireland
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Development of offshore wind energy in Ireland is being stymied by a lack of renewable electricity support and grid access, the managing director of SSE Ireland, Stephen Wheeler has warned.

UK-based SSE owns energy provider Airtricity.

Mr Wheeler, inset, claimed that a lack of clear policy and regulatory signals in support of offshore wind energy risks sending a message that Ireland isn't open for business in relation to offshore wind projects.

He was speaking ahead of the Energy Ireland conference at Croke Park in Dublin yesterday.

"Ireland has one of the strongest offshore wind resources in the world, yet is one of the only countries in Northern Europe not developing offshore wind capacity.

"This is due to the historic and continued lack of any standard support mechanism and grid access for offshore wind energy in Ireland," he said.

He claimed that the "low-carbon revolution" needed by Ireland to meet international climate and energy targets can only be achieved offshore wind farms as the only renewable technology of scale.

Mr Wheeler also said that there's also no grid connection policy for onshore wind energy.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten insisted at the conference in that offshore renewable energy will play a "critical role in Ireland's clean energy future".

He also said a Government decision is anticipated before the summer recess in relation to the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme. The scheme will be shaped by EU state aid guidelines which call for competition between developers.

Irish Independent

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