Ireland’s increased climate and energy ambition is reflected by the Government target to achieve 5 GW of installed offshore wind generation by 2030. There is a further commitment in the programme for Government to develop a longer-term plan to utilise the potential 30 GW of offshore floating wind power in our Atlantic waters.
The 5 GW target will be primarily met through development of offshore renewable energy in Ireland’s eastern and southern coastal regions. This reflects the suitability of water depths in these regions for deployment of conventional fixed bottom offshore wind turbines and existing electricity grid infrastructure to connect these projects to the onshore grid.
Subsequent cost-effective deployment of renewables in deeper waters off the west and southern coast to take advantage of stronger and more consistent wind speeds should be increasingly feasible through future advances in floating turbine technology. This will benefit local communities in employment and commercial opportunities, and in the development of regional port infrastructure.
The Irish transmission system operator, EirGrid will have primary responsibility for ensuring that Ireland has the appropriate electricity grid infrastructure to support development of offshore wind. Future grid development will be informed by EirGrid’s ongoing public consultation, Shaping our Electricity Future, which will analyse approaches to developing the grid in order to meet our ambitious renewable energy targets.
In addition to this, a new framework for Ireland’s offshore electricity transmission system recently approved by Government, has designated EirGrid as the operator and owner of the offshore grid with responsibility for developing the necessary associated onshore grid infrastructure to connect offshore generation.