Minister Eamon Ryan has welcomed approval for plans to accelerate the delivery of 5GW offshore wind by 2030. This will deliver a secure, sustainable, and cost-effective supply of indigenous energy, while unlocking green energy export opportunities.
The Policy Statement on the Framework for Phase Two Offshore Wind will be published later this week. It outlines how the first auction for offshore wind under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 2) will launch by the end of 2023, following a public consultation on draft auction terms and conditions in mid-2023.
The first auction relates to the delivery of offshore wind capacity on the south coast of Ireland, geographically aligned with available onshore grid capacity. This auction, and all subsequent Phase Two auctions, will result in the development of offshore wind capacity within 'Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Designated Areas'.
These Areas, which will be designated according to legislative provisions for Designated Maritime Area Plans (DMAPs) in the Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Act, will guide investment and decision-making and will complement the forthcoming network of Marine Protected Areas. This plan-led approach will ensure that development is managed in a planned, strategic and sustainable way. Importantly, it will provide greater certainty for all maritime users as to where development will be situated.
Welcoming the publication of the Policy Statement, Minister Ryan said:
"This is a critical step on Ireland’s journey towards maximising our offshore wind energy capacity and eventually eradicating our dependence on imported fossil fuels. It will put us on a direct path to zero CO2 emissions, while at the same time creating jobs, future-proofing our businesses, and improving our quality of life. It will also mean cleaner, more secure, home-grown energy for our householders and businesses, particularly when it is abundant.
"The approach we have chosen streamlines the development process for offshore renewable energy by optimising the consenting, planning and grid development resources of the State. It represents the best opportunity to meet our ambitious 2030 climate and energy targets, while at the same time bolstering our security of supply. It will also provide additional certainty for investment in Ireland’s offshore renewables sector due to enhanced project delivery prospects."