News Release from Wind Energy Ireland


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New report: Government must support offshore wind energy ports

Wind Energy Ireland is once again calling on the Irish Government to invest in our ports to give industry the best chance of achieving the Climate Action Plan targets at the lowest cost to consumers.

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay

The report, We can build them: Supporting Irish ports to build offshore wind farms, was produced for Wind Energy Ireland by Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions. It includes an examination of how port infrastructure for offshore wind energy was funded elsewhere, both within and outside the European Union, and highlights the important role of State support in giving confidence to investors.

The report builds on the 2022 National Ports Study, which showed that Belfast is the only port on the island of Ireland that is currently fully equipped to serve as a construction base for offshore wind farms.

It is nearly three years since Wind Energy Ireland published, Harnessing Our Potential, which first highlighted the urgent need for support from the Irish Government for additional port infrastructure. This is the third report produced by industry since then, repeatedly highlighting the issue, and proposing solutions backed up by years of experience in port and offshore renewable energy development.

The failure by Government to act means that offshore wind projects, due to compete in an auction next month, still have no idea which Irish ports – if any – will be available to construct the wind farms. This uncertainty will push up prices so Irish electricity consumers could be paying more for their power for decades to come because of the lack of ports.

Paul Doherty, Executive Director of Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions, said: “It is common practice across Europe for the State to invest in port infrastructure when there is a clear social and economic case for it to do so.

“Support from the Irish Government would de-risk upfront investment and could plug any funding gaps. This support could be in the form of direct funding from the exchequer, a low-interest loan scheme or access to funding vehicles such as the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and the European Investment Bank.

“In the case studies we identify in the report it is clear there is no State Aid issue here. The Irish Government can choose to do this or it can choose not to.”


Several ports, like Rosslare, Cork Dockyard and Shannon-Foynes, have plans to expand their port infrastructure so they can be used to build offshore wind farms, but these improvements require significant amounts of investment. While the ports can, and will, raise much of this themselves support from the State is crucial to de-risking initial investment.

Pat Brennan, Deputy CEO of Doyle Shipping Group, is leading plans to make their facility at Cork Dockyard a leader in offshore renewable energy development: “We have a fantastic location in Cork which would suit projects off the south and south-east coasts. We hope to put forward a planning application for the improvements we need later this year but support from the State, whether directly or through ISIF, would really help to accelerate the process.”

Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, continued: “We want to build Irish offshore wind farms in Irish ports. Our members – both ports and developers – are absolutely united on this. That is the best way to create jobs at home and to deliver offshore wind energy at the lowest possible price. But the Irish Government needs to want this as well.

“Our job is to deliver the renewable power Ireland needs to cut our carbon emissions and end our dependency on imported fossil fuels. Building offshore wind farms in Irish ports is the best way to do this. It reduces costs for consumers and it creates jobs in our coastal communities. Our port members are ready, willing and able to respond but they need support.

“We do not have a single port in the Irish Republic capable of being used to build an offshore wind farm and while Belfast Harbour is an outstanding facility, we cannot simultaneously build all of the offshore wind farms that we need from a single location.

“Without more ports we will either completely miss our 2030 targets or these wind farms will be built from ports outside of Ireland, losing an incredible economic opportunity. Instead of growing jobs in Wexford, Cork and Limerick, our wind farms will be creating employment in Great Britain and France.”


The focus of Government policy to date has been to support ports to seek funding through the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility. However, as the report points out, all Irish applications for port infrastructure under this fund last year were unsuccessful and, even if current applications succeed, there are limitations to relying on the fund.

Among other proposals the report recommends:

  • Bringing ports, the ORE industry and State agencies together as part of the Offshore Wind Delivery Task-force to identify solutions, including the possibility of designing an Irish Strategic Port Investment Model;
  • Updating the National Ports Policy to enable the State to invest in port infrastructure for offshore renewable energy;
  • Government to work with industry and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to support the development of port infrastructure for offshore renewable energy.

Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, said: “Public money was used to help fund port infrastructure for offshore wind energy at La Nouvelle and at Brest in France, and in Cuxhaven in Germany, as well as Invergordon in Scotland prior to Brexit.

“No one is looking for a blank cheque from Government, but whether it is through the Strategic Investment Fund, EU funding or from the State, the reality is that financial support is necessary to give confidence to private investors that Ireland is serious about developing the infrastructure we need to build offshore wind energy.”


The report was part-funded by the following organisations: Belfast Harbour, DP Energy, ESB, Inis Offshore Wind, Ocean Winds, Ørsted, RWE Renewables and Source Galileo. Wind Energy Ireland would like to thank the funders for their contribution which has allowed for completion of the study.

Wind Energy Ireland
Press Office
Wind Energy Ireland, offshore, ports, harbour, wind farm, Ireland, government, industry, CLimate Action Plan, target, support, auction, decade

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