Sense of urgency needed from Government on offshore wind energy

12 Sep 2019

National conference hears call for action on top industry priorities

Dr David Connolly, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association, has called for greater urgency from Government and across the political system to support the development of offshore wind energy. He was speaking at the second National Offshore Wind Energy Conference held in Dublin’s Ballsbridge Hotel today.

Ireland currently only has a single offshore wind farm but there is an estimated 4-5,000 MW of offshore wind energy ready to be developed off the country’s east coast.

Dr Connolly said: “Our industry is ready, willing and able to deliver the 3,500 MW of offshore wind energy by 2030 required in the Climate Action Plan.

“But there is uncertainty about whether the legislative and policy changes needed to ensure offshore wind is harnessed to power our homes, businesses and economy are happening fast enough.

“It may be more than ten years to 2030 but that’s a very short space of time to build an offshore wind industry from scratch and there is absolutely no time to waste.”

The conference, attended by nearly 200 people working in Ireland’s renewable energy industry, heard calls for action from the Government on four key priorities:

  • The Marine Planning and Development Management Bill needs to be published before the end of the year and prioritised for passage through the Oireachtas;
  • The supply chain for offshore wind in Ireland requires urgent financial support to ensure we have the infrastructure and skills to maximise the local jobs potential;
  • The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme needs to commence as quickly as possible to ensure offshore wind farms get the support they need to develop;
  • Ireland’s Grid Connections Policy must enable offshore wind farms to connect to the electricity grid.

Main sponsor

The main sponsor of the conference is Natural Power, an international renewable energy consultancy that has worked on almost 2,000 projects in 37 countries.

Seán Manley, Country Director for Natural Power said: “Natural Power is delighted to sponsor this year’s National Offshore Wind Energy Conference, as the industry gears up for accelerated growth in the coming years following the positive indicators in the recently-published Climate Action Plan.

“Our team of offshore experts has an established track record of delivering a wide range of services to the global offshore wind industry, including project management, due diligence, ecological surveying, environmental impact assessment, energy yield assessment and health & safety advisory services.

“Natural Power has a longstanding association with the Irish offshore wind industry dating back over 20 years, when we initially commenced feasibility studies on the Codling Wind Park project, prior to successfully managing the EIA and consenting process.

“Our Dublin-based and wider global team continue to be involved in delivering offshore development services to Irish projects and we look forward to working with IWEA and other key stakeholders to facilitate the delivery of operational offshore wind projects that will contribute significantly to our 70 per cent 2030 RES-E target” 

Sense of urgency

Dr Connolly concluded: “The Government’s Climate Action Plan sets out a vision and a detailed set of actions for how offshore wind energy can be developed.

“But along with a vision we need a sense of urgency, not just from Government but from across the political system, to ensure targets set out in the plan are being met ahead of time.

“Minister Bruton’s clear commitment to tackling climate change needs to be matched with a determination to better the deadlines in the plan if we are to give ourselves a realistic chance of hitting our 2030 target to provide 70 per cent of our electricity from renewables.”

Notes for Editors

The National Offshore Wind Energy Conference is sponsored by Natural Power with supporting sponsor Beauchamps. This is its second year.

Ireland currently has only a single offshore wind farm, GE’s Arklow Bank, which was built in 2004. It is located 13 km off the Wicklow coast and has a generating capacity of 25 MW.

IWEA is the all-island representative body for the Irish wind industry, which employs more than 4,000 people across Ireland. IWEA works to promote wind energy as an essential, economical and environmentally friendly part of the country’s low-carbon energy future.