Policy Statement on the Framework for Phase Two Offshore Wind

[Source: gov.ie]

Reflecting Ireland’s increased climate and energy ambition, the Programme for Government includes the objective that 5 GW of offshore wind generation will be installed by 2030. This target will contribute to the wider Government objectives of achieving 80% renewable electricity and a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this decade.

It is anticipated that a large proportion of the 5 GW target will be achieved through the initial Phase One of offshore wind development in Ireland, which includes the first offshore wind auction to take place in Ireland under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme – ORESS 1. This auction was launched by EirGrid in December 2022 and will be completed by June 2023. However, with a combined capacity of Phase One projects totalling around 4.4 GW, coupled with prospects that some Phase One projects may fail to secure a route to market or development consent, additional offshore projects will be needed to meet 5 GW by the end of this decade. This transition from Phase One to the longer term enduring offshore regime will be known as Phase Two. The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) has developed the new framework and policy for Phase Two which was approved by Government on 7 March 2023. The framework will provide clarity for all stakeholders regarding the development of offshore wind as Ireland moves to the enduring, plan led, offshore regime.

Click here to view the Policy Statement on the Framework for Phase Two Offshore Wind

The Phase Two policy includes the following key points:

  • The deployment of offshore wind under Phase Two will take place through an accelerated work programme which will focus on near term delivery based on technology with proven scalability in other jurisdictions and will procure the additional offshore wind capacity required to meet Government’s target of 5 GW of offshore wind by 2030
  • Phase Two Offshore capacity will continue to be procured through the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS), with the size, regularity and urgency of auctions required to meet the 5 GW target to be determined by onshore grid and marine spatial constraints, and the outcome of Phase One. A first auction to take place under Phase Two – ORESS 2 – will launch by the end of 2023
  • ORESS 2, and any subsequent Phase Two auctions, will exclusively procure a set volume of offshore wind capacity for development within individual Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Designated Areas, which will be designated according to legislative provisions for Designated Maritime Area Plans (DMAPs) in the Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Act. The process of developing ORE Designated Areas will provide opportunities for public participation and consultation, as well as requiring statutory environmental assessments. The location of ORE Designated Areas for Phase Two will be geographically aligned with available onshore grid capacity, in addition to being informed by environmental considerations including European sites and Marine Protected Areas
  • EirGrid has identified currently available onshore grid capacity for further connection of offshore renewables of approximately 700 MW in total off the South coast of Ireland. The additional offshore wind capacity is intended to be split into two connections of approximately 350 MW each at different locations along the South coast. It is intended that the location of these onshore connection nodes will be geographically aligned with the first two ORE Designated Areas. ORESS 2 participants will compete for supports to develop 350 MW offshore wind projects within each of these Areas, or a 700 MW project within a single ORE Designated Area
  • The location of subsequent Phase Two ORE Designated Areas and Phase Two ORESS auctions will be determined by the availability of additional onshore grid capacity that may arise should Phase One projects fail to achieve a route to market or planning consent. For the avoidance of doubt, all Phase Two auctions will exclusively seek to procure offshore wind capacity located within ORE Designated Areas, including potential additional future auctions on the East or West coast should additional grid capacity be identified by EirGrid following completion of Phase One
  • Beyond Phase Two and the 5 GW objective, Government has further committed to introducing a new phase – Phase Three – which targets an initial 2 GW of floating offshore wind capacity off our South and West coasts. These projects are expected to be in development by 2030 and may include projects available for green hydrogen production and other non-grid uses