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Wind Industry Profile of

Major Push for Irish Wind Industry

Thanks to its island location, Ireland has a coastline of 1,448 kilometres and almost ten times as much sea area as land mass. Nevertheless, the country so far paid little attention to the use of offshore wind energy. But now the go-ahead has been given.

Ireland has a coastline of 1,448 kilometres (Image: Pixabay)Ireland has a coastline of 1,448 kilometres (Image: Pixabay)

Ireland is not using its potential! All experts agreed that the island has a pipeline of up to 1 gigawatt in offshore wind until 2020. Further three gigawatts would be possible by 2030. In the past though not much happened.

But last year the time had come: the Irish government announced its intention to massively expand renewable energies in the future. In total, renewable energy projects with a capacity of around 4.5 GW are to be developed by 2030. The system was converted to tenders in a similar way to Germany. In addition, the largely untapped potential of offshore wind energy needs to be exploited.

Ireland was once considered a pioneer in the offshore wind industry. The Arklow Bank wind farm in the Irish Sea with a capacity of 25 megawatts was built in 2002 and was the first wind farm at that time to install turbines with a capacity of over 3 megawatts.

The turbines are larger now, especially in the offshore sector, but no further offshore expansion has taken place in the last 20 years - even despite the fact that neighbour UK has meanwhile become the offshore market leader.

It could look like this off the Irish coast soon, if it goes according to the government (Image: Pixabay)

The ESB Group, which is 95 percent state-owned, plans to set up two wind farms off the Irish coast together with Belgian offshore developer Parkwind. ESB therefore acquired 35 percent of the planned Oriel project, as the company has now announced.

The Oriel wind farm in the Irish Sea off the coast of Dundalk has a capacity of up to 330 MW and is scheduled to start commercial operation in the early 2020s. The wind farm will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of around 280,000 households. Oriel will help reduce Ireland's CO2 emissions by 600,000 tonnes per year.

Parkwind in turn will acquire a 35 percent stake in the planned 500 megawatt Clogherhead wind farm, which is in the initial planning stages.

Pat O'Doherty, CEO at ESB, underlines that this is only the beginning: "Our collaboration with internationally respected developers such as Parkwind in the delivery of the Oriel and Clogherhead projects underscores our commitment to further involvement in the development and construction of offshore wind farms in both Ireland and the UK."

Politicians, too, are pleased with the fruit of their own efforts. Commenting on the deal, Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said: "Today’s announcement is a significant development for Ireland’s offshore wind industry. I am determined to make Ireland a leader in climate action. Renewable energy is critical to this ambition. With a sea area almost ten times the size of its landmass, Ireland has very significant offshore wind capacity and this partnership is a testament to our potential in this area."

Katrin Radtke
Ireland, coastline, offshore, wind farm, pioneer, ESB, Belgium, Parkwind, developer, wind farm, OWF

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