Kickstarting delivery of Ireland’s offshore wind targets

Kickstarting delivery of Ireland’s offshore wind targets

Barry Kilcline, director of offshore wind development in Ireland at SSE Renewables, says his company is ready to deliver 2GW of offshore wind projects over the next decade to contribute to Ireland’s 7 per cent annual carbon reduction targets

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10th April, 2021

There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of the offshore wind revolution. There is now a global appetite to grow the industry and invest in sustainable projects.

Ireland’s energy sector is on the cusp of great change sparked by ambitious government targets for offshore, and a highly competitive industry seeking to capitalise on our ample but undeveloped seabed.

At SSE Renewables we have always been committed to responding to the climate crisis. As part of the Ftse-listed SSE plc we have a team of around 1,000 people employed across Ireland, while our installed renewables on the island are 892MW, powering more than 600,000 typical Irish homes and offsetting almost 650,000kg of CO2.

Barry Kilcline, director of offshore wind development in Ireland at SSE Renewables

By 2030, we intend to at least double our generation portfolio by turning to our seabed, installing around 2GW of new offshore wind energy generation in Irish waters over the course of the next decade.

We’re ready to deliver Ireland’s first offshore wind farm of scale, phase 2 of the 520MW Arklow Bank Wind Park, by 2025. Here, we will invest between €1 billion and €2 billion, which will help meet the nation’s interim renewable energy target of 1GW of offshore wind by the same year.

In turn, the project will decarbonise our environment by 1 per cent annually, contributing significantly to the annual 7 per cent carbon reduction targets committed to in the Programme for Government.

The delivery of this project, a pioneer for the domestic industry, will finally kick-start the offshore wind industry here and symbolise a new era for renewable energy in Ireland.

Arklow Bank Wind Park will also contribute significantly to Ireland’s green recovery, delivering much-needed jobs and investment.

It will deliver €860 million gross value-added (GVA) to the island of Ireland, €430 million of which will be delivered to Wicklow and north Wexford directly. The project will create 10,500 FTE years nationally, 4,800 of which will be local.

Arklow Bank Wind Park, as a front-runner project in the Irish Sea, will act as an offshore wind test case for the state, for the grid and our indigenous supply chain in the first half of this decade.

Post-2025, we expect our subsequent blue sea projects, Braymore Wind Park off the port of Drogheda in the north Irish Sea and Celtic Sea Array off the Waterford and Suir Estuary, can power Ireland’s push towards 2030 targets and contribute significant gross value added to the national and local economy.

Braymore Wind Park is situated in water depths suitable for fixed turbine installations and is located around 18km from both Dunany Point in Co Louth and from Braymore Point in Co Dublin.

SSE Renewables recently secured a foreshore licence to facilitate surveys of the seabed at Braymore to enhance our understanding of met ocean conditions and environmental mapping at the site. We believe Braymore will be capable of generating around 800MW of renewable energy, powering approximately 835,000 homes annually.

It is off our southern coastline that we are setting our greatest ambitions. We expect to be able to deliver the 800MW bottom fixed turbine Celtic Sea Array by 2030, again contributing significantly to Ireland’s 5GW target of offshore wind energy by the end of the decade.

Delivery of Celtic Sea Array will provide the launch base from which we will develop future additional phases in the Celtic Sea utilising floating offshore wind technology post-2030.

At SSE Renewables our investment strategy is built around clear government commitments; 1GW of offshore by 2025 as committed in the Climate Action Plan of 2019 and in the NECP submitted to the EU Commission late last year, and 5GW by 2030 as committed in the Programme for Government.

Clear direction from government is essential to industry, to give certainty to our own plans, but also to ensure that the global supply chain recognises Ireland as a credible market.

Political will must be converted into administrative action to ensure confidence, investment, green jobs and the delivery of climate action targets.

While the world transitions to green energy through offshore wind, global industry players are now looking to Ireland to see if it will deliver on the commitments it has made to kick-start the sector.

If this does not happen, then the limited global supply chain will move to significantly larger and more established markets which will provide a steady and certain pipeline of scale.

At SSE Renewables, we will use our position this year as principal partner for the UN’s COP26 summit in Glasgow this November to continue to promote a green recovery as a core strategy to underpin efforts to tackle climate change.

We’re ready to play our part to kickstart Ireland’s delivery of its offshore wind targets and net zero ambition for everyone.

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