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Energy policy: The Government has pledged to have 70pc of electricity supplied by renewable energy by 2030, including 5GW from off-shore turbines

Energy policy: The Government has pledged to have 70pc of electricity supplied by renewable energy by 2030, including 5GW from off-shore turbines

Energy policy: The Government has pledged to have 70pc of electricity supplied by renewable energy by 2030, including 5GW from off-shore turbines

Off-shore wind developers have 23 projects in the pipeline for the seas around Ireland as demand for renewable energy grows.

However the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) is warning that the next two years are critical if any are to begin producing power in time to meet climate   action targets.

“If a project does not have planning permission by the end of 2025 it will not be built by the end of the decade. It is as simple as that,” said IWEA chief executive Dr David Connolly.

“Which means today, we are on course to fail unless immediate action is taken.”

Government policy is to have 70pc of electricity supplied by renewable energy by 2030, including 5GW from off-shore turbines.

The country has only one off-shore wind farm which was installed off the Arklow coast almost 20 years ago.

The absence of firm national policy, a jumbled planning and consent system and lack of capacity on the national grid to handle power from different sources have all hampered other projects.

A Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, which creates an offshore planning system, is currently going through pre-legislative scrutiny.

Mr Connolly said it is essential the bill is progressed quickly and enacted by the end of next March.

IWEA is also calling for tight, statutory deadlines for decisions on wind farm planning applications and for An Bord Pleanála to be given expert staff to process applications.

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It seeks immediate investment in the transmission and grid system on the east coast, where the first new turbines are expected.

It also says the first offshore wind energy auction, the process used to award contracts for supply of power, must be ready as soon as possible next year.

The 23 projects under development include 13 in the Irish Sea, six in the Celtic Sea and four in the Atlantic.

Those in the Irish Sea will be developed first as they use fixed-bed technology.  

  Those in deeper seas off the west coast will need floating turbine technology which is not yet so advanced.

Between them, the new turbines  could offer 16GW of electricity but Mr Connolly said realistically, not all would progress to planning application stage and some, not beyond that.


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