Two giant power projects off Ireland’s east and west coasts are set to power the nation towards its target of 5 GW of maritime wind capacity this decade.
Development partners EDF and Fred Olsen Renewables intend their 1.5GW Codling Bank farm off County Wicklow to be generating by 2017. Last month they opened a public consultation into Ireland’s biggest offshore farm. Its planned 140 turbines, some up to 320 metres high at the tip, will cover 125 square kilometres, and are planned to power a nominal 1.2 million Irish homes.
Two weeks ago Equinor and Ireland’s state generator ESB revealed plans for 1.4GW of turbines floating in the Atlantic up to 30 kilometres off the Shannon Estuary and feeding in to Ireland’s grid at the Moneypoint power station, due to cease coal-fired generation in 2025. The developers foresee the County Clare site as a hub for green hydrogen, creating up to 600 jobs.
The two developments will deliver on the aims of the republic’s National Energy and Climate Plan. Micheál Martin’s Fine Fáil-led coalition aims to develop 5GW of offshore wind, and plans to cut carbon emissions by 51% on 2018 levels by the end of this decade.
Trade body WindEurope welcomed the announcements, but pointed to gaps allegedly remaining in regulations around planning, consenting and grid connection. CEO Giles Dickson claimed that on average the republic’s processes for building offshore wind farms are longer than for onshore ventures.
Ireland needs to act quicker if the country wants to reach its 2030 target, Dickson said.
Last week Danish developer Ørsted paid £496 million ( €571 million) to acquire Brookfield Renewables’s 1.5GW of onshore wind assets in Ireland and the UK.