€200m investment in wind energy hub to create 2,000 jobs

A €200 million investment is to be made in facilities at Rosslare Port

Caroline O'Doherty

PLANS to create a national centre for offshore wind development in Rosslare will be announced today with potentially 2,000 new jobs on offer.

A €200 million investment is to be made in facilities at Rosslare Port including a new quay and berth and a 50-acre storage and pre-construction site for the huge wind turbine parts.

A new deep channel is to be dredged to accommodate the large ships carring the parts and a dedicated management control centre will be built.

The aim is to make Rosslare the base for a national offshore renewable energy (ORE) hub that would serve multiple wind farms pencilled for development around the east, south east and south coasts.

The plans will be unveiled at a launch in Co Wexford this morning.

Rosslare Europort is owned by Iarnrod Eireann and the rail company’s chief executive, Jim Meade, said the port was well-placed to support the country’s transition to renewable energy.

It is located within 60 nautical miles of most of the planned developments in the Irish and Celtic seas, has excellent shipping, rail and road connections and has the support of local and national government.

Glenn Carr, Rosslare Europort general manager said extensive engagement had already taken place to understand the needs of the ORE industry.

“In terms of economic potential, the south-east can be to offshore renewables what Dublin’s silicon docks are to the tech sector,” he said.

Under the Climate Action Plan, there is a target of supplying five gigawatts of electricity from offshore wind by 2030 – a quantity that matches almost all the electricity currently used in the country.

Seven offshore wind projects, all but one in the Irish and Celtic seas, have priority status for admission to planning and consent procedures and some are expected to formally apply for planning permission by the end of this year.

One of the barriers to offshore development is the lack of deep water ports with space and facilities to accommodate the enormous components and the many construction, operation and maintenance vessels needed to support them.

The ESB is also working on plans to turn the Moneypoint power plant and adjacent port into an offshore renewable hub when the plant is decommissioned after 2025.