Offshore wind resources

A golden opportunity

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – Further to “The Irish Times view on Ireland’s record on wind energy: progress is too slow” (May 13th), you and the Climate Change Advisory Council are far too polite in your response to our efforts to date to develop our offshore wind resource. It is nothing short of a catastrophic failure.

As you point out our wind resource is one of the best in the world. We are members of and are located, in case we forget, right beside one of the largest and richest economic blocs in the world, the EU. Technological advances combined with energy pricing now make offshore wind at scale feasible and viable. In other words, the stars have aligned in the energy world and they are pointing at Ireland.

It is no exaggeration to say that this is quite simply the greatest economic opportunity this country has ever seen. And yet we approach it only in terms of our climate change obligations, presenting it essentially as a cost or imposition that we must fulfil.

There is not a hope in hell of the Government’s target of 5GW of offshore wind in place by 2030 being realised. The current planning system is entirely unfit to deliver this.

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We should have set up a dedicated one-stop-shop agency, ideally for all things energy (the Danish Energy Agency would be a good model). The agency would also plan and coordinate the delivery of all related infrastructure, including port facilities, specialist ships, grid connections, etc. It should be resourced to the hilt and given, effectively, emergency planning powers.

If we could get this right is there any reason why we shouldn’t aspire to be the next “Norwegians”? With the economic resources to put in place all required climate change and conservation measures?

I would be delighted to be proved wrong but, sadly, I see no sign of real ambition being brought to bear on this issue. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN WYSE,

Dublin 18.