The nine member countries of NSEC have agreed to reach at least 260GW in offshore wind energy by 2050, while a new report shows the role Cork could play in Ireland’s wind ambitions.
Members of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) have announced an ambitious offshore wind power goal in a bid to move Europe towards energy independence.
At a meeting in Dublin, the nine NSEC countries agreed to reach at least 260GW of offshore wind energy by 2050. This represents more than 85pc of the EU-wide ambition of reaching 300GW by the same year.
The NSEC also has more intermediate targets of at least 76GW by 2030 and 193GW by 2040. Within these non-binding targets, Ireland aims to hit 7GW by 2030, 15GW to 20GW by 2040, and 37GW by 2050.
Energy ministers from the nine NSEC countries and the European Commission made the announcement at a meeting in Dún Laoghaire on the Monday the 12th of September.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD, said the North Atlantic and North Sea comprise “some of the windiest locations on the globe”.
“It is our greatest collective resource of continuous energy and it is momentous that we have agreed today to be ambitious in our targets, as a collective,” Ryan said.
“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the consequential energy price shock and security of supply crisis has shown us how crucial it is that we move away, as quickly as possible, from our reliance on expensive and ransomed fossil fuels.”
Offshore wind in Cork
Meanwhile, a new report suggests that Cork has the potential to be a key location for Ireland’s offshore wind ambitions.
The report by Wind Energy Ireland found that windfarms in Cork have paid around €7.2m in commercial rates to Cork County Council this year, while Cork communities received €437,000 in direct community benefit funding in 2020.
Launching the report, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney, TD, said onshore and offshore wind present significant opportunities in “job creation, investment in the local economy and rural and coastal community support”.
“Cork’s growing wind sector can play a vital role in helping us to achieve our national renewable energy targets set out in the Climate Action Plan,” Coveney added.
The report said several ports in Cork have the potential to be used as operations and maintenance bases for offshore windfarms. Wind Energy Ireland said the commercial and job creation opportunities are “vast”
“Windfarms in Cork are creating jobs, supporting rural communities and investing in Cork’s economy,” said Wind Energy Ireland CEO Noel Cunniffe. “An enormous opportunity now exists for a whole new industrial sector to emerge in Cork – a wind energy sector which can benefit everyone.”