SSE offshore chief warns Ireland could miss 2030 wind energy targets

Ireland’s offshore wind sector faces “very serious challenges” and the government could miss its 2030 targets for producing renewable energy from such wind farms, according to the offshore head of SSE Renewables.

In Ireland, SSE plans to develop the Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 offshore wind project, which could generate enough energy to power nearly 850,000 homes annually. It would be built close to Ireland’s only working offshore wind farm, which Airtricity developed off the coast of Co Wicklow in 2004.

Barry Kilcline, Head of Offshore Ireland at SSE Renewables, said the developer is staying fully committed to its project at Arklow and others in Ireland, including the Celtic Sea Array off the coast of Waterford and its Braymore project. However, he claimed that there were “very important challenges” in the Irish offshore sector and warned that these “need to be addressed”.

Kilcline said next year’s first offshore wind RESS auction will be “one of the riskiest subsidy auctions in the world”. Among other things, he believed that the lack of a building permit, which developers don’t need before entering, puts developers at a disadvantage when negotiating with suppliers.

“It is important that the auction is quick, but basically all building permits are the critical path for these projects. It’s more important to run an auction that works than just run an auction,” he said.

“The way it is developing and the final terms and conditions have not yet been released, it will probably be one of the least attractive in Europe.”

Based on previous experience, he said it could take “10 years of courage” to realize such projects. As a result, Kilcline did not believe Ireland would meet its target of generating seven gigawatts of offshore energy by 2030. “It will be a few years later.”

As other countries develop offshore wind farms, Kilcline said Ireland is “already starting to lose opportunity”. He highlighted an agreement between Germany and Canada to import wind-generated hydrogen.

“I was wondering why wasn’t that Ireland? If we don’t put on our skates, we’ll be left behind.”

Kilcline spoke to 114 turbines after a media event at the Seagreen offshore wind farm. The wind farm is Scotland’s largest and could generate enough electricity for around 1.6 million homes. SSE offshore chief warns Ireland could miss 2030 wind energy targets

Fry Electronics Team

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