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Renewable Energy – ‘Can Ireland meet their target of 3.5GW Offshore Wind Power by 2030?

Posted by: Sharon Dunleavy
21/01/21

 

According to the report from Carbon Trust (Harnessing our potential: investment and jobs in Ireland’s offshore wind industry | Carbon Trust), to accelerate the ongoing decline in CO2 emissions, Ireland is increasing its efforts to provide clean energy to all homes and businesses. Over the next ten years the country will connect a new generation of offshore wind farms, and drastically cut its bill for foreign fossil fuel imports.

Offshore wind energy is at the heart of the Climate Action Plan’s ambition to cut CO2 emissions in the electricity sector by two-thirds, and increase the renewable energy share of electricity demand to 70 per cent by 2030 from its current 35 per cent.

Already Ireland has an offshore wind energy pipeline of more than 12 GW at various stages of development, enough to supply more than its electricity needs. With the necessary technology, skills, resources, and commitment from industry, and policymakers in place by 2030, there is no reason why Ireland’s offshore wind industry could not become an energy exporter to its neighbours for the first time.

The Climate Action Plan is driving planning, investment, policy development, and strategic thinking required from both Government and Industry investors.

Over the last 12 months we have seen some exciting examples of investment, and policy change to move Ireland nearer to its ultimate goal.

June 2020 saw consultation begin, around Offshore Wind Grid Development Policy.

In its Climate Action Plan published in June 2019, the Irish government committed to having at least 3.5 GW of offshore wind in the next ten years, which will help renewables to account for 70 per cent of electricity generation by 2030. The consultation will help determine the model through presenting evidence that will inform the decision for the most suitable model for Ireland. Based on the policy framework ultimately selected by the government, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) will similarly consult and decide on a regulatory framework for offshore wind, DCCAE states.

In May, the Irish government designated seven offshore wind projects as relevant, allowing them to work on and update several aspects so they can apply under the new marine planning regime. The new regime will be introduced by the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill. The selected projects include the Oriel, Innogy’s Bray and Kish Banks, Codling I and II, Skerd Rocks and North Irish Sea Array (NISA) offshore wind farms.

Reported by Adrijana Buljan (https://www.offshorewind.biz/2020/06/10/ireland-consulting-on-offshore-wind-grid-development-policy/)

July 2020, Kayle Crosson reported on behalf of GreenNews.ie:

Investment in offshore wind energy has shown “great resilience” in the face of ongoing economic and public health crises this year, according to new international analysis. Offshore wind global financing came out to $35 billion in this time period, up a staggering 319 per cent when compared to its investment status in July 2019.

The news comes just a week after CorkBeo reported that Simply Blue Energy applied to build an offshore wind farm off the coast of Kinsale. The company plans to develop the site in the Celtic Sea, off the south coast, and upon completion, anticipate that the farm will have a total capacity of up to 1GW.

The project, according to Simply Blue Energy, “envisions the transformation of the maritime landscape in the vicinity of the Kinsale gas field into a zone for the production of clean, renewable offshore wind energy” to support a decarbonised Irish economy.

The site would be a crucial puzzle piece for the newly formed government, as the coalition of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party aim to achieve 5GW capacity in offshore wind by the end of the decade, off the country’s Eastern and Southern coasts. (Offshore wind investment proves "resilient" despite Covid-19 - Green News Ireland)

September 2020, Ralph Riegel of Independent.ie reported, IRELAND celebrated a double renewable energy boost with two firms announcing multi-million Euro strategic investments in the offshore wind farm sector.

Green Rebel Marine (GRM), a new business established to service the future needs of offshore wind farms, confirmed it is to create 80 new jobs. The company has acquired Crosshaven Boatyard in Cork and the nine-acre site will now serve as a base for its new operation to survey, equip and service a network of planned wind farms along the Irish coast.

GRM founder Mr Flynn has invested €10m into the project, including the purchase of two specially equipped, high tech ships to service this nascent industry. "Ireland is on the verge of a green revolution that will deliver 5 Gigawatts of energy from wind not generated on land, but far out to sea," he said. "We have already hired some of the industry’s leading scientists who will help conduct surveying in the months ahead, and our team will remain involved in these projects until they are operational and beyond. This is a new sector, and one that has incredible potential to deliver for our maritime community."

A second Cork firm, shipping company Irish Mainport Holdings, has announced its entry into the offshore wind sector, with its investment in a 50-metre survey and research Ship, the Mainport Geo. The firm has also bought a share of Wicklow-based offshore services company, Alpha Marine.

Mainport said it is very excited about its new venture. The firm operates three tugs in the Shannon estuary, provides a dedicated supply vessel at the Kinsale natural gas field, as well as ship agency and stevedoring operations in Cork and Limerick. Their new ship, the 2015-built Mainport Geo is a state-of-the-art energy sector support vessel. Mainport chief executive, Dave Ronayne, said there is tremendous potential in the sector. "We are delighted with this new ship, which will be very suitable for the offshore renewable sector in Ireland," he said. "We know there is over €5bn investment planned over next few years on the east coast of Ireland by many major existing offshore wind operators, and all these new wind farms will require surveying services.

Wicklow-based Alpha Marine has a long history of service to the offshore wind sector, both in Ireland and overseas. Since 2004, the company has provided tug and workboat charter, hydrographic survey, subsea repair and maintenance and most recently, environmental and geophysical survey to Irish offshore windfarms.

Alpha Marine commercial director, Tim Greenwood, said "This strategic investment will increase our operational capability and enable us to deliver a strong Irish supply chain proposition to windfarm developers, and Tier 1 and 2 contractors. "Over the last year or two we have seen an uptake in enquiries for geophysical survey, so the added capability that the Mainport Geo brings us is very exciting indeed." ('Ireland's on the verge of a green revolution' - two firms announce multi-million Euro investments offshore wind farm sector - Independent.ie)

November 2020, Partrac has completed an offshore wind resource measurement campaign at the Oriel offshore wind farm in Ireland, using floating LiDAR technology.

Partrac deployed EOLOS’s FLS200 Floating LiDAR in mid-October 2019, and has now completed a 12-month offshore measurement campaign.

” We are delighted to have delivered a successful 12-month wind resource dataset to Parkwind/ESB for Oriel (one of Ireland’s first offshore wind farms). Partrac have been working on floating lidar campaigns for over 5 years and the experience we have gained, combined with our metocean consultancy expertise, enables us to provide safe and robust floating Lidar measurement campaigns to the offshore wind industry.”

Oriel is one of the seven offshore wind farms granted a relevant project status under the Irish Government’s transitional arrangements to fast track the roll out of up to 5 GW of offshore wind by 2030. The project, located off the County Louth coast in the North East of Ireland, will have a capacity of 350 MW to 400 MW. The wind farm is being jointly developed by Parkwind NV and the Irish state-owned utility ESB. Partrac and EOLOS Wrap Up Floating LiDAR Campaign Offshore Ireland | Offshore Wind by Adnan Durakovic – Offshore Wind.biz

Also, November 2020, The Dublin-based vessel operator Farra Marine has ordered what will be the first catamaran wind farm service vessel operating under the Irish flag. The Singapore-based Penguin Shipyard started building the 27-metre Farra Orla in early September. The expected delivery is in the second quarter of 2021.

Farra Orla is the third in Penguin’s Windflex 27 series, the designer Incat Crowther said, adding that the vessel offers excellent speed, deadweight, and seakeeping, making it capable of many roles in the offshore wind industry. The catamaran has a deadweight of above 50t, features two working decks, and will have an operating speed in excess of 29 knots. The design of the vessel is compliant with European regulations for the transfer of 24 offshore workers and will be classed with BV. Ireland's First Wind Farm Service Catamaran Starts Taking Shape | Offshore Wind by Adnan Durakovic – Offshore Wind.biz

December 2020 An unprecedented renewable energy opportunity for Ireland, the Shannon Estuary, and the south and west coasts has been unveiled in a major study.

The Offshore Wind Potential Study – commissioned by Shannon Foynes Port Company – by specialist geotechnical engineering consultancy Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions Ltd. (GDG) identifies the potential to turn the State into an exporter of energy and generate unprecedented job creation in the process. The report estimates €12billion investment into the Estuary by 2050 under a medium growth scenario and without including export potential to other markets. It also estimates that the available wind resource can generate up to 70GW of floating offshore wind energy.

The report states. “Offshore Floating Wind is rapidly expanding and therefore now is the time to capture the potential from this early-stage sector. Given the timelines to develop the required infrastructure, now is the time to commit the investment and ensure Ireland Inc. capitalises on the global opportunity as first movers in this exciting space. Shannon Foynes Port is the vehicle to maximise the benefits to Ireland Inc. from the floating wind market.”

Closer to home, the report identifies the potential to create between 10,000 – 20,000 jobs in manufacturing and a further 10,000 industry jobs arising from four distinct supply chain opportunities – Manufacturing, Staging and Installation, Operations and Maintenance by 2050.

Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions’ report pinpoints huge potential for manufacturing facilities to be established in Shannon Estuary. It proposes Foynes Port as a Supply Chain Enterprise Park, and the other local authority designated strategic development locations, consisting of a total of 1200 hectares on the Shannon Estuary, for device and component manufacture and assembly. It states that opportunities also exist to produce green hydrogen using electricity produced from the new Atlantic offshore wind farms.

Welcoming the report, Pat Keating, CEO of Shannon Foynes Port said: “This report quantifies for the first time, the unique floating offshore wind opportunity that exists for Ireland and not just for this region. “The mix of our world-class wind resources, the natural infrastructure here for a global manufacturing and industry base, and climate change adds up to what is an unprecedented opportunity that we must capitalise on. “There is already significant interest in this from global energy players, and we would anticipate generating a gigawatt of energy by the turn of the next decade. This would very much be a phased programme rivalling anything on an international scale but will transition Ireland to a global renewable energy leader.

Said Deputy Brian Leddin: “The Shannon Estuary and West of Ireland, as this report shows, has a solution that goes way beyond meeting climate change targets.  Our programme for government has already paved the way for this as it has a clear and unambiguous commitment to harnessing the potential of the Shannon Estuary for economic development through renewable energy resources. (Floating Offshore Wind global opportunity for Ireland (limerickpost.ie)) – reported by Meghann Scully – Limerick Post.

January 2021, Nadja Skopljak reported for Offshore Wind:

Codling Wind Park Ltd has issued the scoping report for the offshore elements of the Codling offshore wind project in Ireland. The purpose of the scoping report is to engage with regulators, statutory and non-statutory consultees as part of the EIA process, inviting them to provide relevant information and comment on the proposed approach being adopted in relation to the offshore elements of the project.

The 1 GW Codling Wind Park is being developed by a joint venture partnership between Fred Olsen Renewables and EDF Renewables. It is spread across two sites, one of which, Codling 1, is consented.

In May 2020, the Irish government designated seven offshore wind projects as relevant and put them on a fast-track through the new marine planning regime. One of the selected projects is Codling 1 and 2.

Subject to the consenting process, the developers anticipate that the wind farm will be constructed in the mid-2020s. Scoping Report Issued for Irish Offshore Wind Farm | Offshore Wind

The outlook for 2021 is positive with ING reporting solid growth for the Wind Energy Sector.

Covid-19 has had little impact on the growth prospects for wind and solar. The European wind and solar markets are expected to provide solid growth of 8% and 13% in 2021 in terms of capacity additions, which will require €60bn of investment.

On the supply side, wind and solar continue to benefit from policy support for green local power systems. On the demand side, we expect power demand to increase by 3% in 2021, although the extension of lockdown periods and delays to the vaccine rollout could lead to stagnation.

In the offshore wind sector c.2GW of capacity will be added in 2021 as policymakers in the Nordics, UK, Ireland, Germany, and the Netherlands continue to work on special planning for offshore wind farms and grid infrastructure. So, more is about to happen in the coming years for offshore wind farms. https://think.ing.com/articles/solid-growth-for-wind-and-solar by Gerben Hieminga.

In Summary, we think the answer to the question ‘Can Ireland meet their target of 3.5GW Offshore Wind Power by 2030? is yes. Despite Covid-19, 2020 has been a good year for the Offshore wind sector in Ireland, gaining not only much needed policy changes but also investment and further global interest in the region.

With the Irish west coast having among the best wind resources in the world and the unrivalled deep waters of the Shannon Estuary, combined with the emergence of floating offshore wind technology, the future for Ireland in the Offshore Wind Energy Sector is predicted to go from strength to strength. These key assets and components give the country an added edge when it comes to the manufacturing, and industrial ecosystem necessary to support the floating offshore wind farms.

WRS Renewable Energy Division are already working closely with major organisations in this sector and are excited to be a part of Ireland’s growth over the coming years.

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