Wind farms – squandering opportunities

Electorate is increasingly fed up earning nothing from our resources

Sir, – The Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation and Sinbad Marine Services have signed a memorandum of understanding with Swedish floating wind developer and technology provider Hexicon in relation to a proposed floating wind farm to be built more than 50 kilometres off the coast of Donegal (News, September 19th).

The development will encompass a sea area of over 200 square kilometres and generate up to 2GW of energy per annum, as well as producing alternative fuels like ammonia and hydrogen.

Ireland, according to some experts, is second only to Vietnam in terms of potential offshore wind energy. This is evidenced by the renewable energy firms queuing up for licences to operate here.

The giant French energy provider EDF recently took a 50 per cent stake in the Codling wind farm currently being developed by Treasury Holdings off the Wicklow and Wexford coast and similar projects are currently under consideration for Co Cork.


The Government’s new Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (Mara) should ensure a swift and transparent planning process is in place to consider and possibly facilitate many of these ventures.

While all this is to be broadly welcomed, especially in terms of local employment opportunities, emissions targets and energy security, there is one thing which troubles me.

What are we, the ordinary citizens of Ireland, getting out of all this and should the Government not insist that all renewable energy projects be developed on a public-private partnership basis?

The State can provide the licences, the sea (or land) area, access to our ports, grid infrastructure, interconnectors (to sell excess energy to the UK and EU), a skilled workforce and a stable and safe environment in which to do business. The private companies provide their technology, expertise and logistics.

Funding could be raised jointly via a mix of private capital, citizen investment schemes (Remember SSIAs?), and government pension and strategic public investment funds.

Completed projects would then be at least partly publicly owned, providing valuable and sustainable revenue to State coffers and ensuring our energy security and independence long into the future.

I’m sure that such moves would be popular with an electorate that is increasingly fed up earning nothing from our deposits, while simultaneously being hit over the head with rising energy prices, carbon taxes, mortgage interest rate increases, rampant inflation and restrictions on burning traditional fuels.

If nothing else, we need to have a proper, robust and public debate on how we develop our renewable energy sector and ensure we do not squander this unprecedented opportunity for future generations. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.