The energy crisis has focused efforts to accelerate an already ambitious timetable to reduce Ireland’s dependence on fossil fuels. This transition should not only be viewed as an imposition or sacrifice, but also as a unique opportunity for Ireland to deliver significant jobs and economic growth, improved energy security and sustainable climate action.
reland has the potential to play a leading role in helping Europe become an independent energy superpower with an abundant and robust offshore wind supply.
With increasing demand for renewable energy, we are well positioned to turn the tide on our dependence on fossil fuels. As the oceans and seas around our shores contain one of the world’s most abundant sources of renewable energy, Ireland has the potential to become a main power charging station or power socket for Europe and its future needs.
We can establish ourselves as a major exporter for our European partners, providing more than enough renewable supply and security for our own needs.
One of the crucial foundations for this must be a comprehensive and resilient supply chain. “Supply chain” is a term you may hear or read a lot in articles about offshore wind and renewable energy.
From an industry perspective, it can become fluid and expansive in terms of what it covers. When I refer to the supply chain, I am talking about local business networks and regional economic ecosystems that can generate widespread growth, both commercially and in terms of employment. This growth would expand from our major ports across the country as core hubs for sustainable development through an interconnected strategy.
Whilst coastal communities stand to benefit the most, I would envision this supply chain stretching through all parts of the country to stimulate and strengthen the regional economy across Ireland.
Our ports will be crucial for the development of this industry. Against this background, opportunities and challenges are set out in the National Ports Study presented at the Wind Energy Ireland Conference. The National Ports Study is funded in part by us at Inis Offshore Wind and other developers in collaboration with Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions.
Findings and recommendations include a call for clarity about offshore wind energy delivery in terms of timeframes and processes. This will support developers and ports, and also give investors confidence when looking at the detailed infrastructure plans presented by the ports.
The report also recommends active government support to mitigate the risk of upfront investment levels and fill funding gaps. This can be done through various forms of direct funding from the Treasury, such as: B. a low-interest loan program or access to financing vehicles such as the European Investment Bank.
My experience from 10 years working in the UK offshore wind industry for Orsted – including the development of Hornsea One, the world’s largest operating offshore wind farm at the time – has led me to believe that a modern public-private partnership model works best way to fully meet Ireland’s offshore wind ambitions.
The UK got a head start with this approach in 2019 with the publication of its Offshore Wind Sector Deal (OWSC). We can see the progress they have made but we have our own course to chart in Ireland. We have our own unique circumstances and abilities.
This is based on initiatives such as the Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce within the government and other partnerships such as the Ports Coordination Group and the Gael Offshore Network led by Enterprise Ireland.
The building blocks are in place. I know my colleagues are ready to work with governments, stakeholders and communities to make our net zero future a reality.
Vanessa O’Connell is the Principal of Inis Offshore Wind, an offshore wind developer backed by Temporis Aurora LP
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/irelands-path-to-net-zero-is-paved-with-opportunities-to-grow-the-economy-and-provide-power-for-other-countries-42074129.html Ireland’s path to net zero is paved with opportunities to grow the economy and power other countries