When it comes to one of the most reliable sources of renewable energy worldwide, many countries are beginning to realize the potential that wind provides. Therefore, countries like Ireland have begun exploring wind resources by setting up projects like the onshore wind generation. As Ireland aims to increase the provision of renewable electricity generation, the country is looking to achieve the same success in offshore wind.
Hence, a policy landscape was created to attract global investment and allow developers to execute the project.The offshore wind projects in Ireland were established according to the 2019 Climate Action Plan. This is in line with the government’s plan to increase electricity production.
It is expected that Ireland will experience an increase in electricity demand, with projections at 30% in 2030 and 80% in 2040. This growth is driven by the development in high energy sectors in the country, like electric vehicles and data centers. To meet these demands, exploring the potential of offshore wind comes in handy.
Why is offshore wind important
Offshore wind is one of the most reliable sources of power. It involves the conversion of wind to power without the emission of harmful greenhouse gas. In the fight against climate change, offshore wind power is crucial in generating electricity.
In addition to being a cost-efficient and clean energy source, the good part about offshore wind is that it is an infinite and renewable source of energy.
Seven Offshore Projects invited to Apply for Maritime Area Consents
In March 2022, the Minister for the Environment, Climate, and Communications in Ireland, Eamon Ryan, sent out applications from some of the developers of the offshore wind projects.
Some of these projects were tagged as the “relevant projects” in 2022. These projects include Oriel Wind Park, Codling Wind Park I and II, RWE’s Bray and Kish Banks, Fuinneamh Scierde Teoranta, and North Irish Sea Array.
It is projected that these seven large offshore wind farms would be able to provide three million homes with power.
With the new powers in place, the first part of the projects with fixed turbines will be able to get permission from the Minister of Environment to grant them a smooth passage to An Bord Pleanala. Once these projects fulfill the financial, planning, and environmental requirements, generating 3 Gigawatts of power by 2027 looks more feasible.
Here are some of the specific projects that were given the “Relevant Projects” status:
Oriel Wind Park- ESB and Parkwind
The Oriel Wind Park project is also known as the Oriel Windfarm project. This project was instituted to create offshore wind farms in Ireland.
It is interesting to note that the Oriel Windfarm was the first project developed by the company. Also, it doubles as the first functional commercial wind farm in the Irish sea. This project’s region is in the Irish Sea, close to the County Louth’s coast.
After a thorough review, the Oriel location was selected as the appropriate site to kickstart the offshore wind energy project. According to projections, the wind farm will come with a capacity of 370 Megawatts. This will contribute immensely to the overall energy target that Ireland is looking forward to having.
The Oriel Wind Park project is collectively developed and managed by Parkwind NV and ESB.
Parkwind has four wind farms with a joint production capacity of 771 MW. Over time, Parkwind has grown to become one of the most recognized organizations in the world, notable for its business and technical prowess.
Additionally, they are a force to reckon with regarding their passion for creating a sustainable future. Parkwind has spread its tentacles to Ireland, Belgium, and some countries in Asia.
On the other hand, ESB is well known as one of the foremost energy companies in Ireland, notable for also being the biggest provider of renewable electricity in the country.
The Irish Government owns the major stake in the ESB, which is home to the Oriel Project, being their first offshore wind investment in Ireland.
According to the reports from Oriel Windfarm limited, the company applied for a Foreshore Licence to aid more studies at the intended offshore wind farm site. If the Licence is granted, Oriel Windfarm will have the autonomy to make further studies to increase the potential of the wind farm.
It is possible that in the second part of 2022, Oriel Windfarm will request planning approval to scale the wind farm.
Codling Wind Park
The Codling Wind Park is a projected offshore wind farm set in the Irish Sea in a place called the Codling Bank. This project is presently developed by Codling Wind Park Limited, which is an equal partnership between Fred Olsen Seawind and EDF Renewables.
Interestingly, both companies are foremost operators and developers of renewable energy assets with several years of international experience in the offshore wind sector between them.
The Codling Wind Park is a collaboration of two individual projects with a grand area of around 125km. sq. Both projects had a combined total energy output of 21GW and wind turbines numbering 440.
With the giant strides in the wind turbine generator technology alongside the reduction in energy cost with offshore wind, Codling became one giant project. According to the projected design, around 140 turbines would be used on the project’s site(125sqkm). The maximum turbine capacity is proposed to be 16 MegaWatts.
Currently, some survey activities are ongoing to finalize the size and number of turbines to be used.
Skerd Rocks- Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta
The Skerd Rocks project is an offshore wind farm project initially developed by the Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta, a company based in Ireland.
In 2021, the company was acquired by the Green Investment Group (GIG) company to continue the Skerd Rocks project, which would be their pilot offshore wind investment in Ireland.
It is projected that when the project comes to life, about 295,000 homes are expected to have sufficient electricity. Additionally, the offshore wind project is expected to counter carbon emissions by 457 kilotonnes yearly. The Skerd Rocks, alongside other offshore wind projects, is expected to help Ireland meet their goal of producing 70% renewable energy in 2030.
Also, Skerd Rocks are expected to improve the country’s energy production and energy supply security. This would make the country less dependent on oil and gas and imported coal.
Dublin Array- Kish Banks and Bray Banks
The Dublin Array project is another notable offshore wind project in Ireland. In July 2020, Innogy SE’s 50% stake was absorbed by RWE, leaving Saorgus Energy with the remaining 50%.
Presently, RWE is spearheading the development according to the terms of the partnership. Like other relevant offshore wind projects, the Dublin Array project is expected to boost Ireland’s efforts to increase power production and supply to all the homes.
Dublin Array is situated around 10km from the Dublin coast and Wicklow counties. This project is expected to have an installed capacity ranging from 600 MW and 900 MW.
With the development of this project, RWE has a lot to gain due to its other projects in the works, including solar power plants and onshore wind projects.
The Goal of the Offshore Wind Projects in Ireland
At a briefing, the Commissioner, Mr. Ryan, mentioned that this was the chance for Ireland to stop using fossil fuels. Rather, the country would be self-sufficient in producing its energy.
He also added that the price of electricity would not depend on oil and gas. Instead, it will depend on renewables. Therefore, as these plans build, power becomes cheaper and accessible to everyone.
Concerning the second part of the project, above 200 million Euros will be invested in ports to fund the offshore projects. The second part of the offshore wind farms should step up the power capacity to 5GW in 2030.
According to Mr. Ryan, the big goal would reflect in the 2030s. He mentioned that the generation of the massive volume of power would allow Ireland to have a modern economy. This would help the country to hit climate targets alongside energy security.
Since Ireland has the prospects to generate 10 times its present power needs, it could become a notable hydrogen exporter in the nearest future.