Clarity urgently needed to unlock Ireland’s offshore wind potential

Ireland has some of Europe’s best wind resource. And yet, the large-scale deployment of the technology has fallen behind other markets largely as a result of a lack of strong policy support – it is more than 14 years since Arklow Bank, the country’s only operational wind farm was fully commissioned. The site, situated off the east coast, has a capacity of 25MW.

However, we write this at a time of fundamental change for the Irish energy industry characterised by evolving energy policies, market frameworks and legislation that raises the prospect of increased support and investment in Ireland’s offshore wind sector.

The sector has the potential to grow exponentially with the evolving market, too. High wind speeds and relatively benign sea conditions off the east coast, for example, mean that offshore wind could meet a high proportion of the renewable electricity targets across Ireland – Project 2040, the government’s policy for a more sustainable Ireland, set out ambitions to support up to 4.5GW of new renewables by 2030. EirGrid, in its Tomorrow’s Energy 2017 Locations report suggests that offshore wind capacity could be as much as 3GW by the same date.

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