The Government has published the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan for public consultation. Ireland’s ocean territory is ten times our land mass size. This Plan, in conjunction with the Strategic Environmental Assessment of Irish Waters also now published, looks at offshore wind, wave and tidal energy resources and how that could be maximised in the years ahead.
Crucially, this work found that Ireland could produce up to 10 times our existing electricity demand without significant environmental impacts.
“This Government has begun an energy revolution. We have doubled the amount of renewable energy on our system and we want to go further. Every megawatt of renewable energy that goes onto the Irish national grid reduces our Eur6 billion annual fossil fuel bill, reduces our carbon emissions and creates Irish jobs,” says Energy Minister Eamon Ryan, TD.
The Irish Government is also working with the Scottish Government and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland, on an EU INTERREG funded project called ISLES which is examining the feasibility of offshore grid links between the three administrations. The study is examining the technical, economic, regulatory, planning and trading issues that need to be addressed to develop, connect and transport to market the major offshore renewable resources in the Region.
Ireland is also working with its European partners to develop an EU wide framework for offshore renewables. In particular, Ireland is working with nine countries – UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and the European Commission in the North Seas Grid Initiative which is looking at developing a ‘supergrid’ infrastructure in the North Sea and Irish Sea areas.
This work is feeding into a European Union infrastructure policy statement which the Commission intends to publish later this month. Ireland will be in a position to trade excess renewable energy on a wider European market.