Power supplier Energia is poised to begin work on two €2 billion offshore wind projects while French giant EDF yesterday pledged to boost investment in the Republic.
The Department of Housing and Local Government has granted Energia foreshore licences giving it the exclusive right to survey areas of the Irish and Celtic seas for two offshore wind farms that will produce 800 mega watts (MW) each.
Seabed surveys are a key first step in offshore wind farm development as they allow developers to identify the best sites for the turbines that will ultimately generate the electricity.
Energia plans one farm in the south Irish Sea and another in the north Celtic Sea, requiring a total investment of around €4 billion, or €2 billion each, according to its managing director of renewables, Peter Baillie.
He predicted that completing the surveys, getting planning permission, grid connections and construction would take several years. “We will hopefully be operating around the end of 2029,” Mr Baillie said.
Meanwhile, EDF Renewables said on Wednesday that it planned to build onshore wind farms in the Republic capable of generation up to 500MW by 2030.
The €500 million pledge adds to its partnership in the Codling wind park in the Irish Sea with Scandinavian group, Fred Olsen.
Matthieu Hue, EDF Renewables chief executive, pointed out that solar power, onshore and offshore committments meant it would build electricity plants with a total capacity of around 1,000MW in the Republic by the decade's end.
He was speaking after the company formally opened its Irish office in Ringsend in Dublin yesterday.
Mr Hue noted that the Codling development, which will generate 1,500MW, was the biggest current energy infrastructure project in Ireland. It will cost close to €2 billion to build.
The French business last year bought local player, Wexford Solar, and is working on its first solar farms in that county and neighbouring Kilkenny. It is also working on a 100MW wind project in Kilsallagh, Co Mayo.
“It was natural for us to come to Ireland to apply the skills we have in offshore and onshore,” said Mr Hue.
In a statement he urged the Republic to “leverage” its potential for renewable to allow it meet the Government’s net zero carbon target by 2050.