Four new offshore wind farms get approval from Irish government
Credit: By Shauna Corr, Environment Correspondent, Eithne Dodd, Journalist | 12 MAY 2023 | buzz.ie ~~
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Translate: FROM English | TO English
Yesterday, the government announced the success of four out of six offshore wind farm applications to the State’s first wind auction under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme.
They are Sceirde Rocks off Galway’s coast, Dublin Array, Codling Wind Park off Wicklow and the North Irish Sea Array off the coast of Dublin, Meath and Louth.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan welcomed the “competitive” wholesale cost secured during the ORESS 1 auction – an average of €86.05per megawatt hour for the next 20 years, partly dependent on inflation.
In 2022, the average wholesale cost of electricity was €200, dropping to between €110-130 more recently.
Together the wind farms are expected to generate enough power for 2.5 million homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over one million tonnes by 2030.
A ‘landmark’ day
The provisional results mean the firms behind the four projects can now apply for planning permission from An Bord Pleanala and that while Marine Protected Areas will be considered during that process, they will have to co-exist with offshore wind.
If successful, it is thought the first project could be online by 2027.
Noel Cunniffe, chief executive of Wind Energy Ireland, said: “This is a landmark day in Ireland’s response to the climate emergency. These projects are leading an Irish energy revolution which will deliver clean, secure, Irish energy to our homes, businesses and communities. This is the day offshore wind energy in Ireland became more than just a good idea and took its place as the future cornerstone of Irish energy independence.
“We are immensely proud of our members in getting this far and it is important to acknowledge the huge volume of work that has been put in to making this happen over the last three years by Minister Ryan’s department, EirGrid, ESB Networks and the CRU. This has been a real example of how industry and Government can work together effectively.”
Ireland’s newest wind farms
Together, all four farms will provide 3GW of renewable electricity, which is around 36% of Ireland’s electricity based on 2023 consumption levels.
The outcome of the auction is subject to the normal RESS confirmation and State Aid processes, both of which are expected to be complete by mid-June.
Under the community benefit fund provisions of the ORESS 1 deal, successful projects are required to make payments to local marine and coastal communities hosting offshore renewable energy projects.
These communities will now benefit from over €24 million per year, beginning before construction and continuing for up to 20 years after a project begins to produce renewable energy.
We understand private investment in the auction could reach between €4-5 billion and that the projects have already been awarded provisional grid space by Eirgird.
Oriel Wind Park and Arklow Phase II were not successful in their bids.
More offshore wind auctions to come
Ryan said: “The provisional results of the ORESS 1 auction are not just a hugely positive story for Irish energy consumers, but for Ireland as a whole.
“The results are further evidence of what many of us have known for a long time; that we, as a nation, can develop and produce enormous quantities of clean energy – securely and at low cost.
“My department is developing further offshore wind auctions to bring us closer to this energy-independent future, while also chairing the whole-of-government Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce to maximise the benefits to the economy, local communities, and the environment.”
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