ESB has entered into a 50:50 partnership with Danish wind energy company Orsted to develop a pipeline of offshore projects that it says has the potential to generate up to five gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy.
Unveiled on Friday morning, the State-owned company said the first project in the portfolio is expected to compete in the Government’s next offshore wind auction. The companies said in a joint statement that the partnership will also look at developing “complementary renewable hydrogen projects” in addition to the 5GW of wind energy it expects to generate.
Orsted, which operates 19 wind farms in Ireland, announced Irish expansion plans in April, saying that it is “actively exploring “the “huge” potential of the Irish offshore energy market at an event in its Cork headquarters to mark its €700 million investment in wind energy in Ireland over the past two years.
Duncan Clark, senior vice-president at Orsted and head of the company’s Irish and UK divisions, said that the global operator is now ready to begin to develop its offshore strategy.
“This partnership combines complementary strengths relevant to development in this market and creates an ideal platform for Orsted to bring its global expertise in the delivery of offshore wind to bear in Ireland,” he said.
“From the world’s first offshore turbine in Denmark in 1991 to the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, Hornsea Two in the UK, Orsted has been a driving force behind the commercialisation of the offshore wind industry across Europe, Asia and America as part of our vision to create a world that runs entirely on green energy.”
Jim Dollard, ESB executive director, said the State-owned company’s offshore pipeline is part of a wider portfolio of renewables projects it has been working on over the past number of years.
“ESB has amassed considerable expertise in offshore wind, partnering with leading energy companies in projects of scale and building a significant offshore footprint across Ireland and Great Britain,” he said. “We are delighted to partner with Orsted, a global leader in the offshore wind industry, in developing this portfolio in Ireland.”
The agreement was launched on Friday in Cork Chamber’s offices by Minister for Enterprise, Simon Coveney.
He said that the announcement was “a strong vote of confidence in Ireland’s sustainable future and an important milestone in building a new, indigenous energy system”.
Last month, ESB, which supplies homes and businesses through subsidiary Electric Ireland, said it will press ahead with plans to develop a separate offshore wind portfolio in the Irish Sea despite the project’s failure to win an electricity supply contract.
In partnership with Belgian company Parkwind, the State-owned company plans to build the Oriel wind farm off the Co Louth coast with its partner.
ESB said last month that it remained committed to the project, despite failing to secure a provisional contract in the most recent offshore wind auction, where companies bid against each other to supply offshore wind-generated electricity to the Irish market.
Orsted, meanwhile, a global owner and operator of renewable assets, has 19 operational wind farms across Ireland, creating 360MW of capacity, the equivalent of powering over 234,000 homes.