The Irish Government is committed under its Climate Action Plan to having at least 3.5 GW of offshore wind in Ireland in the next seven years.
This will help Ireland on its way to hitting its target of making electricity production 70% renewable by 2030.
Seven offshore wind projects have now been selected for fast-tracking. These are located at: Oriel, Bray Bank, Kish Bank, Codling 1, Codling 2, Skerd Rocks and the North Irish Sea Array (NISA).
The announcement means the project constructors can work on and update their applications under the new marine planning regime which will be introduced by the .
The estimates that these projects add up to a total investment of almost €6 billion over 5 years. A number of large and experienced companies from such countries as Germany, Norway and Belgium are showing interest.
Nick Hollinghurst commented,
“This story is far more complicated that it might appear. Irish involvement in off-shore wind – at least in terms of planning projects – goes back 25 years or more with very little being achieved. Unfortunately political mistakes on both sides of the Irish Sea deterred investors. On the Irish side in 2011, the then Labour Minister in Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael-Labour coalition decided to not to extend financial support to offshore wind. Then proposals to sell electricity to the UK via an inter-connector came to nothing because of lack of interest by the UK side – and of course finances were still difficult at that time following the Banking Crash in 2008.”
“There is now an inter-connector in place between Great Britain and Ireland and it now seems that there is now considerably political will for Ireland to make a success of its offshore wind energy potential. I hope that this time they will succeed.”
“However, there are three further interesting points.
The first is that, one of the companies showing interest actually has a base in Belfast. They have considerable experience in offshore wind specialises in strategic infrastructure development and acquisition. It describes itself as a company “co-financed by the European Union”.
The second point is that the generation and distribution of electricity and its marketing are, under the Good Friday Agreement, in a single all-Ireland market.
The third point is that the EU is keen to import electricity directly from Ireland to give it a secure supply that could be an alternative to British uncertainty and unreliability.”
Given that wind is usually not in short supply in Ireland, the fact that Ireland is a single market for electricity, the financial support from the EU, the Irish ambition to export electricity and the Irish government’s current budget surplus, this project is now looking promising.
Based on a report in the Irish Times.