State in danger of missing 2030 offshore wind energy target

Urgent action required if Government is to meet milestone, says lobby group

The Government is aiming to have at least 5,000 megawatts of offshore wind off the east and south coast by 2030.

The Government is aiming to have at least 5,000 megawatts of offshore wind off the east and south coast by 2030.

 

The State is unlikely to meet its 2030 offshore wind energy target unless urgent action is taken over the next 12 months to enable more wind farms be built.

This is according to Wind Energy Ireland, which has said the Government is running out of time to meet its milestone of having at least 5,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind off the east and south coast.

The commitment, which is contained in the Programme for Government, can only succeed if there are between seven and 10 wind farms operational by 2013. However, Noel Cunniffe, chief executive of the lobby group, said that such a target may not be hit over the next nine years.

“For us to deliver the offshore wind energy we need to decarbonise Ireland’s electricity supply we need a robust marine planning system, a much stronger electricity grid and a firm date for the first offshore renewable electricity auction,” he said.

Mr Cunniffe said while there is a strong pipeline of more than 20,000 MW of offshore wind energy in various stages of development the time to build projects is running out.

“The next 12 months will be absolutely decisive for offshore wind and our 2030 renewable energy targets. We need to see our Government, politicians, departments and State agencies step up the pace,” he said.

Seven recommendations

Wind Energy Ireland, which holds it annual offshore wind energy conference in Naas on Tuesday, has set out seven recommendations that it believes must be acted upon if the 2030 target is to be achieved.

These include the passing of the Maritime Area Planning Bill, and the fixing of a firm date for the first offshore wind energy auction.

“We must acknowledge that, over the previous 18 months, our Government has had to deal with an unprecedented healthcare crisis and to co-ordinate our response to a global pandemic,” said Mr Cunniffe.

“But this does not change the reality that even as progress accelerates, time is quickly running out, and we are seeing a loss of confidence throughout the international supply chain that Ireland will get the key policies and legislation in place to meet its 2030 targets.”