Action 25 of the Climate Action Plan 2019 aims to facilitate the development of offshore wind, including the connection of at least 3.5 GW of offshore wind to the grid by 2030. Action 25 contains two measures for which my Department has lead responsibility and which require input from a range of other Departments and agencies:
1. Completion of the National Marine Planning Framework in a manner to give priority to key national policies such as the overall decarbonisation of the economy and Ireland’s renewable energy ambitions, and
2. Finalise the revised General Scheme of the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill.
The Draft National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) and associated environmental reports were published on 12 November for a period of public consultation closing on 28 February 2020. Section 11 of the Draft NMPF is devoted to offshore renewable energy (ORE) and contains a range of objectives and planning policies that support the decarbonisation and renewable energy ambitions of the Climate Action Plan. In all there are eleven separate planning policies devoted to ORE, the first of which states that "Proposals that assist the State in meeting the Government’s target of generating at least 3.5GW of offshore renewable electricity by 2030 and proposals that maximise the long-term shift from use of fossil fuels to renewable electricity, in line with decarbonisation targets should be supported".
The NMPF is on target for completion and adoption by end 2020.
Government approved a General Scheme of the Marine Planning and Development Management (MPDM) Bill in July 2019 and finalisation of the Bill is expected in the coming weeks.
My Department is continuing to work with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel on the drafting process. The finalisation of the Bill will be subject to engagement with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government in relation to pre-legislative scrutiny.
The Bill will require further enabling measures following enactment to bring the new regime into operation, including regulations, statutory guidelines and transitional arrangements.