The Government considers citizen engagement to be at the heart of Ireland’s energy and climate transformation. It is critically important that citizens and local communities are recognised as best placed to understand their own needs and concerns, as well as enabled to effectively participate in implementing the changes required. Local communities will be central to the decision-making processes of community engagement initiatives as part of Ireland’s offshore renewable energy journey.
The Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Bill, which has been passed by Dáil Éireann and is currently before Seanad Éireann, will enable the realisation of our offshore renewable energy ambition by establishing a well-regulated and inclusive consenting process, with comprehensive environmental assessments and consultative processes to better enable meaningful community engagement.
My Department has also just completed a public consultation on the draft terms and conditions for the first offshore wind auction under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme, ORESS 1, which will support the first phase of offshore wind development in Ireland. Projects successful at this auction will be required to make significant community benefit contributions from an early stage in the lifecycle of an offshore wind project. There has been a tremendous response from local communities to this consultation and my Department will now carefully consider all submissions before issuing a formal response early next year. I look forward to working harmoniously with local communities and the offshore renewable energy industry to make this happen together in a way that is successful for everyone involved.