Ireland is the only country in the EU with a significant Atlantic coastline that is not currently developing offshore wind resources.
Up to 1000MW of offshore wind resource in the Irish Sea is deliverable in the immediate future, with 3000MW additional potential there, said a report from KPMG.
Ireland has set a target that 40% of all electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020, rising to at least 55% by 2030, with many industry participants encouraging 70% by 2030.
The report’s author, Mike Hayes, Global Head of Renewables, KPMG and Partner in KPMG Ireland, said: “While solar and onshore wind can and will play a key role, offshore wind’s scale and deployment capacity means it has to be at the centre of our strategy to meet this demand. Dramatic reductions in technology prices and improved performance now mean that offshore wind costs a fraction of historic pricing, with a trajectory to hit parity with other technologies in the medium term.”
“I was delighted to hear the Taoiseach state that climate action is a top priority of his Government, and I believe this report is consistent with Government’s targets in relation to the development of renewable energy in Ireland and building a sustainable, low-carbon society,” Hayes added.
Paddy Teahon Chairman of NOW Ireland underlined that in order to achieve Government targets and stimulate investment and activity in the industry, some critical policy actions like Introducing a Foreshore Amendment Act dealing specifically with offshore wind and implementing a specific offshore wind grid connection round for Irish sea projects have to be put in place.
“There is already a strong pipeline of offshore wind projects in the Irish sea,” said Paddy Teahon. “We are an island nation, with extensive territorial waters. We see other countries in Northern Europe revitalising coastal communities through investment in offshore wind. It’s time for Ireland to take this opportunity; clear and early signals will allow projects to come forward, and will enable the Irish supply chain to maximise benefit from this game changing technology.”