The Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Mr Pat Rabbitte, T.D., launched the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) [pdf, 4.11MB] to provide a framework for the sustainable development of Ireland’s offshore renewable energy resources.
Speaking at the Ocean Energy Industry Forum in Dublin, the Minister said, “Ireland has a landmass of around 90,000 square kilometres, but a sea area of around 10 times that size, at 900,000 square kilometres. Ireland’s position at the Atlantic edge of the EU gives an almost unparalleled offshore energy resource, with suitable conditions available for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.”
The Minister went on to say, “The potential of the offshore renewable energy sector to be a source of sustainable employment and growth in the green economy has been consistently identified in Government economic planning and job creation strategies, and by the European Commission in its recent Communication on ‘Blue Energy’ – especially in coastal communities where job creation faces particular challenges.”
The Minister stressed the crucial importance of safeguarding the public interest in protecting our valuable marine environment, highlighting the fact that the OREDP is grounded in the principle that all development of offshore wind and ocean energy in Irish waters will be fully in line with Ireland’s EU and international environmental obligations and best practice. The Minster went on to re-state the importance of the citizen being at the heart of the transition to renewable energy – both onshore and offshore – and the importance of timely and transparent engagement with the public for all offshore renewable energy development.
The OREDP identifies the opportunity for Ireland to increase indigenous production of renewable electricity, thereby contributing to reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions, improving the security of our energy supply and creating jobs in the green economy. The implementation of the OREDP, led by DCENR, will be mechanism through which government action across the environmental, energy policy and economic development dimensions will be coordinated to support the offshore renewable energy sector to reach commercial viability.