Ireland has the capability to achieve its national targets for renewable electricity from onshore renewable generation alone, with capacity to spare. This means that, under the co-operation mechanisms outlined in Directive 2009/28/EC, there is potential for projects of scale both onshore and offshore that are aimed at export markets. It is in this context that the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Mr Edward Davey MP, and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding on energy cooperation.
Projects of a significant scale specifically for export will have to await the signing of an Inter-Governmental Agreement, the Renewable Energy Export Policy and Development Framework which is being developed by my Department over the coming year or so, and the obtaining of planning permission, informed by this policy, from An Bord Pleanála. Both onshore and offshore developers are free to bring forward export proposals and any such projects, if they take place in the future, would not connect to the Irish grid but would involve separate direct connection to the UK.
Separately, in relation to meeting our domestic renewable energy requirements Gate 3 was designed to ensure the 40% target for renewable electricity (RES-E) by 2020 could be achieved. The latest figures show that the Gate 3 phase of group processing by EirGrid and ESB Networks has resulted in offers being accepted by wind generators to connect approximately 3,000 megawatts so far. When taken with the current installed renewable generation and existing contracts for connection, this is in line with Ireland's requirements to meet 2020 renewable energy targets.