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Ireland's six state-owned Fishery Harbour Centres are set to receive a boost from the government, with almost €29.7m allocated for capital projects in 2024. Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D confirmed the news today, stating that these centres are crucial infrastructure for Ireland's seafood industry, with approximately 87% of all fish landings in Ireland passing through these facilities. 

The investment will be used to develop first-class landing infrastructure, where a modern seafood industry can operate effectively and efficiently, providing maximum opportunities for primary and secondary processing of seafood in Ireland. The funding will also help to provide a strong Irish seafood processing industry to service the fishing fleet and maintain coastal communities.

The Fishery Harbour Centres accommodate diverse marine commercial business, including commercial cargo traffic, cruise liners, restaurants and other leisure, tourism and social activities, which complement the critical economic activity generated by Ireland's fishing industry.

The Deep-water Quay project at Ros an Mhíl, which will receive €17m in 2024, continues to be a priority project and is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2025. Meanwhile, the Smooth Point pier extension at Killybegs will be concluded in the coming months with €3.25m being invested in 2024. At Castletownbere, maintenance of the Mainland Quay will receive €575k in 2024 and will be phased as a multi-annual project with further investment in subsequent years.

Killybegs Harbour in County Donegal Photo Clive WassonKillybegs Harbour in County Donegal Photo Clive Wasson

The government has invested heavily in the Department-managed facilities since 2020, with a combined investment of €116m, including €41.5m spent in 2023. Bord Iascaigh Mhara has valued the GDP of Ireland's seafood industry at €1.3 billion, highlighting the importance of primary and secondary food production activities.

Minister McConalogue noted that a key objective for the seafood sector is to continue on a path of sustainable economic and environmental development by carefully managing the utilization of sea-fisheries and aquaculture. The continued investment in the sector underpins the government's commitment to the industry, with the €29.7million being expended this year helping to progress major infrastructure delivery and underpin climate resilience and the further development of Ireland's Blue Economy.

In addition to infrastructure development, the government's commitment to supporting environmental and sustainability objectives is demonstrated through several important projects planned under this year's programme, including renewable energy upgrades on buildings and water metering to monitor resource consumption.

Fishery Harbour Centres and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2024

Fishery Harbour Centres and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2024

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The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has recommended that the Minister for Transport should consider introducing regulations specific to the installation and operation of articulated hydraulic deck cranes on fishing vessels.

The MCIB recommendation is one of a number issued in its report inquiring into a crush injury sustained by a crewman on board a fishing vessel off the Cork coast in November 2021.

Recommendations in relation to risk assessments, safety legislation, hazard warnings and training for use of articulated deck cranes are also published in the report.

The incident occurred on board the 21 metre-long fishing vessel Aquila which was fishing south of the Kinsale gas rigs on November 7th, 2021.

The vessel with five crew onboard had left the fishing port of Union Hall, Co Cork, the night before. Wind at the time was force three, westerly, with a moderate sea.

The wooden twin trawler was rigged for Danish seine net fishing

As the report states, “at approximately 12.00 hrs on the 7th November, the fishing vessel was at the fishing grounds and the crew were hauling the second haul of the day using the vessel’s net handling crane”.

It says that the crane’s hydraulic system “experienced a sudden loss of hydraulic oil pressure, causing the crane’s jib and power head to uncontrollably lower inboard trapping a crew member between the power head and the underside of the deck supporting the net drum”.

The crewman, who is from the Philippines and had been on the crew for two years, suffered crush injuries.

The vessel’s skipper contacted the Cork Coast Guard Radio (CGR) by VHF radio at 12.38 hrs, advising it of the incident and requesting a medical evacuation of the injured crewman.

It says that at approximately 15.00 hrs, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter R115 from Shannon airlifted the injured man ashore to Cork University Hospital (CUH) for medical attention.

The man was discharged from CUH on November 8th, and was passed fit to fly home. He returned to the Philippines to recover.

It says he recuperated, and has since returned to work as a fisher onboard an Irish registered fishing vessel.

More details are in the MCIB report here

Published in MCIB

Tributes have been paid to the late Professor Ray Bates, a leading Irish and international meteorologist who was from a well-known Co Wexford family involved in fishing and marine science.

Met Éireann has said he was a pioneer in several fields, and a “respected and influential voice in the scientific community”.

As The Sunday Independent reports, he had spearheaded new models for computer forecasting systems which won him an award from US space agency NASA.

A former assistant director at Met Éireann, who subsequently worked at NASA, Denmark’s Niels Bohr Institute and University College, Dublin (UCD), he latterly encountered opposition from scientists and climate activists over his challenge to the consensus view on the level of threat posed by climate change.

The eldest of eight, he was born in Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, 1940, to fishing skipper Willie Bates and Margaret Alice Walsh. His siblings became immersed in fishing, marine science and the offshore sectors, while he studied physics, after winning a gold medal from St Peter’s College in Wexford.

He graduated from UCD in 1962 with a first class honours, having worked with his father on lobster fishing and taking visitors to the Great Saltee island bird sanctuary during his summer breaks from college.

After a short period with the Irish Sugar Company, he worked as a forecaster at Shannon Airport with the Irish Meteorological Service --- now Met Éireann. He took a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which he was awarded in 1969.

His MIT supervisor was the renowned meteorologist, Jule G Charney, one of the first to use computer forecasting. Through is contact with Serbian-American and Canadian meteorologists Fedor Mesinger and André Robert, Bates helped to develop new forecasting models, including a technique called Lagrangian integration.

Met Éireann was the first weather service to make use of this method, now central to forecasting in many national weather services.

During the 1970s, Ray worked with the Egyptian Meteorological Institute, and the World Meteorological Organisation, and in 1987 he was appointed senior scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in the US.

In 1994, NASA conferred him with an award for his “leadership and pioneering work” with the semi-Lagrangian models of forecasting.

He and his wife Zaira moved to Denmark in 1995 where he became professor of meteorology at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen until his retirement in 2004. After Zaira died of cancer he returned to UCD as an adjunct professor of meteorology, and continued research there and with the Royal Irish Academy (RIA).

He chaired the RIA’s Climate Change Sciences Committee from 2009-2013, and was a member of the RIA’s Climate Change and Environmental Sciences Committee from 2014-18. He was awarded the Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2009.

He set up the Irish Meteorological Society, and served as its president from 2004 to 2008. He and his second wife, Natasha, spent more time in Wexford where he bought a sailing craft with his brother, Dick, he was a founder member of the Kilmore Quay Boat Club.

His colleague, Dr Peter Lynch of UCD’s school of mathematics and statistics, said at his funeral that Bates had published several important papers on the theory and modelling of the global climate and “everything he said or wrote was based on meticulous, unbiased analysis”.

His work on climate sensitivity and climate feedback proved controversial as he questioned the scientific rigour of one of the special reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relating to global warming in 2018.

Writing in The Farmers’ Journal, Bates said the IPCC report ignored “important scientific evidence” gathered since 2013 “which reduces the sense of a looming emergency”, and said the Citizens’ Assembly had not received impartial scientific advice when it looked at how Ireland should respond to climate change.

He did not deny that the climate was changing, stating that “reasonable precautionary measures to reduce emissions should be taken on the basis of risk, but it does not require that we seriously damage our economy or bring our traditional way of life to an end in the process”.

Having helped to form the Irish Climate Science Forum, he subsequently withdrew from it .

Prof Lynch described Bates as a man of great integrity, and noted that while criticism of his views, “ not all of which was civil or scientifically justified”, caused him some distress, “it is beyond doubt that his work was of the highest scientific standard, and continues to merit serious consideration”.

Met Éireann said he was “a distinguished meteorologist and climate scientist and a pioneer in the fields of atmospheric dynamics and numerical weather prediction (NWP).

It said he “made significant contributions to the understanding of the dynamics and thermodynamics of the atmosphere and played a crucial role in developing NWP for operational weather forecasting”.

“He was a respected and influential voice in the scientific community, as well as a mentor and friend to many colleagues and students,” Met Éireann said, and it noted that “his rigour, commitment and passion were instrumental to advance weather and climate science and will always be remembered”.

Read The Sunday Independent here

Published in Marine Science
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Irish fishing industry organisations have called on Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue and his officials to “come clean” on the exact nature of talks between the EU and Iceland on fisheries.

In a joint statement, the Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation (IFPO) and Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA) say they are “extremely concerned” about what they describe as “secretive EU talks with Iceland”.

The Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO) has separately called on McConalogue to give a “public assurance” that the informal talks between the EU Commission and Iceland on access to Irish waters are “not up for discussion” at an EU council of fisheries ministers on Tuesday (Jan 23).

“There’s a genuine fear that the negotiations may be close to a deal granting Iceland valuable access to our rich waters - without our input or adequate consultation,” IFPO chief executive Aodh O’Donnell said.

“Why would the minister agree to give Iceland access to our waters when there is almost nothing in the deal for Ireland’s fishing industry,” he said.

“ This is a colossal and embarrassing failure of negotiating skills. The sector is already suffering from the loss of 26% of our mackerel quota to the UK in the disastrous Brexit deal. So, why not use access deals - like this one - to seek a rebalancing of Ireland’s quota to address these losses fully?” he said.

The IFPO said the minister is describing the EU-Iceland talks as “informal” but had “failed to confirm if agreement has been reached already”.

“The fishing industry struggles to understand Ireland’s weak negotiating stance at EU level. We need a government that fights for our industry in the national interest, the way other EU member states do,” O’Donnell said.

“The EU Common Fisheries Policy has failed Irish fishing communities and deals like this are simply adding insult to injury.”

“Iceland has been a main driver in unsustainable fisheries for mackerel and blue whiting in the North-east Atlantic. They have a record of fixing inflated quotas and building new vessels to expand their catches. At the same time, Ireland is forced to decommission our whitefish fleet and downsize because of reductions in our allowable catch,”he said.

“The Irish blue whiting quota is worth around €15 million for 2024,” O’Donnell said.

“If this new deal goes ahead, Iceland can catch almost the same amount of blue whiting in Irish waters as we do. They have a population of less than 380,000 compared to our population of over 5.2m. They are not an EU member. How is this a fair deal?”

“The heart of the matter is that the EU is effectively using our EU waters to get better deals for other EU and non-EU states at Ireland’s expense,”O’Donnell said, describing it as “both unbelievable and outrageous”.

IFPEA chief executive Brendan Byrne said that “we fail to understand why our minister and his officials are negotiating an agenda driven by the EU Commission. This agenda is not in Ireland’s interest but benefits Iceland as a non-EU member. Have we not learnt any lessons from the past?” 

The volume of Ireland’s pelagic fish exports dropped by 45% last year, according to the latest Bord Bia report, Byrne noted.

“That represents a fall of an estimated 31% in the value of these exports – a loss of €56m to the Irish economy in one year alone,”he said.

IS&WFPO chief executive Patrick Murphy echoed concerns about the Iceland talks.

He also said that he was told by McConalogue last week that recent media reports about a Danish offer of 6,000 tonnes of mackerel to Ireland had “been unhelpful” in the context of Commission talks on Iceland’s access.

As Afloat report, the Danish fisheries minister made the offer in writing to McConalogue last September as a temporary solution during an ongoing dispute over mackerel. The offer was not taken up by Ireland.

Murphy said he had clearly expressed his views on the Danish offer to McConalogue, during an online meeting with him on January 17th, and had “voiced his astonishment as to why, during the many recent meetings with the minister, the existence of this [Danish] letter was not disclosed”.

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The Minister for the Marine has congratulated a Donegal teenager with Down Syndrome, described as having “sea blood running through his veins,” for following his dream to work in the marine sector.

Sixteen-year-old Seán Boyle has passed his three-day Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Basic Safety Training course, which will allow him to work on a boat or ferry.

“An incredible achievement,” according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, who wished Sean the best of luck with his future career.“An inclusive culture and spirit of opportunity, where everyone has the chance to contribute and achieve their dreams, is vital. Diversity and inclusion add to the richness of our society, and I am delighted for Seán.”

Séan Boyle lives on Árainn Mhór Island and is the third brother in his family to take the training. He got his love of the sea from his fisherman father, John. A Transition Year student at Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada on Árainn Mhór, he had to undergo three days of training at the BIM National Fisheries College in Greencastle to receive his safety card. The training involved tasks such as jumping into a pool with safety gear, going on a life raft on his own and doing elementary first aid. Seán excelled in everything that came his way.

Seán’s mother, Elaine, said the family couldn’t be prouder of Seán who is the youngest of five children. “He is a brilliant character and people person and doesn’t let much get in his way! Our family is steeped in fishing tradition and as soon as he could walk, Seán would put on his wellies and follow his Dad when he was going out in the boat.”

Donegal teenager Séan Boyle from Árainn Mhór has taken a step closer to following his dream to pursue a career at sea by passing his Bord Iaschaigh Mhara (BIM) Basic Safety Training course which will allow him to work on a boat or Ferry. Photo: Brian Farrell16-year-old Séan, a Transition Year student at Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada School on Árainn Mhór, has Down Syndrome and did not let his disability get in his way to achieve his maritime ambitions Photo: Brian Farrell

He learned to swim when he was younger, taking the ferry every Saturday with his mother across to the mainland to take lessons in Letterkenny Pool. It took him longer than usual to learn to swim. “It was a real commitment, but he was determined,” said Elaine.

Seán said: “If my brothers can do it why shouldn’t I? I am really looking forward to working on a boat.”

Seán’s teacher, Florence Calais, helped him apply for the BIM training, and it is hoped he will do TY work placement in the coming weeks on one of the island ferries.

Garvan Meehan, Principal of the BIM National Fisheries College of Ireland in Greencastle, said: “It was a joy to have Seán on the course in Greencastle. He completed all the tasks with no problems, and his training card is an important step forward towards achieving his goal of working at sea. He is a great example that you can achieve your dreams if you are determined and supported.”

Barry Sheridan, CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland, said: “We’re all incredibly proud of Sean and his achievement. It’s such an impressive qualification, and we know that Sean will be an asset to any vessel he serves on. We at Down Syndrome Ireland, and all our branches and members, are constantly trying to forge new opportunities for people with Down syndrome, and Sean is a real trailblazer. Sean’s Bord Iascaigh Mhara card will be the passport to a brilliant future”.

BIM is the primary training body for the seafood industry in Ireland and runs Basic Safety Training at its National Fisheries Colleges in Greencastle, Co. Donegal, Castletownbere, Co. Cork, and two mobile coastal training units around our coastlines.

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Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue did not pick up on an offer by Denmark to resolve a three-year row with Ireland over mackerel, which could have been worth almost 10 million euro.

The Sunday Independent reports that a letter sent to McConalogue by Danish Minister for Fisheries Jacob Jensen last September offered a transfer of 3,000 tonnes of mackerel to Ireland for two years.

The letter dated September 25th 2023, obtained by The Skipper magazine and seen by The Sunday Independent, Jensen says the European Commission favoured Ireland and Denmark resolving their differences together, and this transfer would be made “without prejudice” to a long-term solution to the dispute.

The row dates back to Brexit, when Ireland lost substantial access to British waters, bearing the brunt among EU member states of transfer of prawn and mackerel quotas back to Britain.

This had a knock-on negative impact on annual EU-Norway deals on migratory stocks, principally mackerel.

In 2021, Denmark applied to the EU to transfer an “historical” mackerel quota amounting to 12,000 tonnes and formerly caught by its vessels in Norwegian waters into western, in EU waters. This transfer would be at the expense of Ireland and other EU member states.

Irish Fish Processors and Exporters’ Association chief executive Brendan Byrne told The Sunday Independent he was “shocked” as he had no knowledge of the Danish minister’s letter.

Irish Fish Processors and Exporters’ Association chief executive Brendan ByrneIrish Fish Processors and Exporters’ Association chief executive Brendan Byrne 

The industry has regular liaison meetings with McConalogue’s officials and “the letter was never mentioned”, he said.

“A transfer of 3,000 tonnes of mackerel from Denmark to us over two years would be worth over 9.7 million euro to the Irish industry, based on the current price for mackerel of 1620 euro a tonne,”Byrne calculated.

Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation chief executive Patrick Murphy said McConalogue should “reflect on his position” and said he had misled the Irish industry by “failing to tell us about this offer”.

Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation chief executive Patrick MurphyIrish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation chief executive Patrick Murphy

“There are small inshore boats seeking to fish for mackerel by rod and line who are restricted to 400 tonnes a year – they could have done with some of this extra fish, as could larger boats down the coastline,”Murphy said.

At the EU’s December fisheries council, a permanent deal was agreed in Denmark’s favour with a fraction of the share going to Ireland.

McConalogue hailed the December outcome as a “win-back” of quota worth 3 million euro.

“It appears that the minister just sought to ensure that the Donegal mackerel fleet had a sufficient share, preserving the status quota and failing to win back something that would have compensated us all for the Brexit losses,” Murphy said.

The newspaper quotes the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine as stating that “Ireland did not accept Denmark’s proposal of a once-off transfer of mackerel quota in September 2023, as the solution proposed did not reflect the European Commission’s legal analysis which confirmed that this quota originated in the western waters mackerel quota area”.

“The solution negotiated by Minister McConalogue therefore results in a permanent allocation of additional mackerel quota for the Irish fleet, rather than a once-off transfer of quota,” the department said.

Read The Sunday Independent here

Published in Fishing

In the early hours of Sunday, January 7th, Ballyglass RNLI, located in north-west County Mayo, was called to the aid of an injured fisherman. The volunteer crew was alerted by Malin Head Coast Guard to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 3am after receiving a report of an injured fisherman. The request was for the lifeboat to meet the vessel the fisherman was on in Broadhaven Bay.

Under the command of Coxswain Francie Gibbons, the lifeboat launched shortly after with five crew onboard and made its way to the scene. Despite challenging weather conditions with a south easterly force 2-3 wind and a 0.5-1m swell, the crew arrived on scene at 4.30 am and assessed the situation.

A decision was made to transfer the casualty onto the lifeboat, where he was then brought back to shore at Ballyglass Lifeboat Station. The ambulance service was on standby and took over the care of the injured fisherman at 5.10am. Ballyglass Coast Guard was also on hand to provide assistance.

In a statement, Ballyglass RNLI Coxswain Francie Gibbons said, "We would like to extend our best wishes to the casualty for a speedy recovery. We would also like to commend our own volunteers and our colleagues in the Coast Guard and ambulance service for their work in the early hours of the morning. This was an example of great collaboration between all the services involved."


Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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It’s time to ask serious questions about the EU’s attitude to Ireland and the Irish fishing industry, according to the Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation, which suspects that the European Union may be engaged in “closed doors” discussions with Iceland to give away more rights to fishing in Irish waters.

“There is a history of the EU Commission rushing through deals of this nature on before holiday periods to minimise opportunities for pushback and objections,” says the Chief Executive of the IFPO, Aodh O’Donnell. “We fear that this giveaway of more foreign access to Irish waters is being agreed behind closed doors. There is a lack of clarity, and Christmas is upon us, and we are very concerned.”

Iceland is seeking access to fish in Irish waters, in a new deal being negotiated with the EU. The country is not a member, but wants to catch valuable blue whiting in Irish waters. The species are no longer available in Iceland’s own extensive waters and Iceland has a record of arbitrarily increasing fishing quotas in its own waters, denuding stocks, according to industry critics.

“Bi-lateral negotiations are underway and may be near finalisation without our input or adequate consultation with Irish interests,” O’Donnell alleges. “We cannot let the EU off the hook. Ireland says to EU “No Icelandic Deal without Reciprocity. We will not stand idly by as EU negotiate a Norway type deal with Iceland while what it wants can destroy the Irish fishing industry.”

"we will not stand by and watch more plundering of our rich maritime resources by another non-EU country"

“The deal as it stands is nothing less than outrageous,” says Brendan Byrne of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA). “Blue whiting is abundant and sustainably managed in Irish waters. However, allowing access to another non-EU country would be at the further expense of the livelihoods of Irish fishermen and the sustainability of the stock. We fear another sell-out. Iceland has a massive fishing fleet including factory ships that will covet our stock. There is no justice in allocating them rights to fish in our waters. The EU already threw Ireland under the bus when it came to the Brexit as we took the hardest hits. As a result of that disastrous transfer of Irish fishing quotas to the UK, Ireland has decommissioned 39 vessels and downsized our national fleet. Now, we find ourselves again in an unbelievable situation in granting a Third Country access whilst Ireland’s small fleet and onshore factories struggle with reduced fishing quotas.”

According to information, Iceland's fishing fish blue whiting in Irish waters would benefit that country to the value of €22.5 million, with no reciprocal benefit for Ireland.

“We aim to work in harmony with other EU Member States, but we will not stand by and watch more plundering of our rich maritime resources by another non-EU country,” says O Donnell.

“We fail to understand why our Minister and his officials are hastening an agenda driven by the EU Commission and to the benefit of an Iceland as a non-EU member. Why have we not learned lessons from the past?”

The industry organisations have called on Minister for the Marine Charlie MacConalogue, to immediately block any EU deal with Iceland.

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A young fisherman has died in a deck accident off the south-west coast, bringing to two the number of fishermen who have lost their lives this week in Irish waters.

The second fatality in four days occurred on board a prawn trawler working some 100 nautical miles west of the Blasket islands.

The young man was found unconscious, and the alarm was raised. He was given CPR, with Medico Cork assistance.

An Irish Coast Guard helicopter was en route when it was informed through Valentia Coast Guard that the man had died.

The vessel was en route back to Castletownbere last night.

Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation chief executive Patrick Murphy said the man was a respected and much-loved member of the community and said the industry is "reeling from this news".

The body of a young crewman on board a razor clam vessel which sank off the Louth coast earlier this week was recovered early on Sunday. A second man on board was rescued and taken to hospital.

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The body of a young fisherman who had been reported missing after a boat sank off Co Louth earlier this week has been recovered.

The young crewman had been one of two crew on board a razor clam boat when it sank north of Dunany Point in Dundalk Bay, Co Louth, early on Tuesday.

One man was recovered and was treated in hospital in Drogheda, and a search was mounted for the second man.

The man’s body was found by Garda divers early on Thursday close to where the vessel was located.

The location was identified after the fishing charity LAST (Lost at Sea Tragedies) sought the assistance of marine survey specialist StatKraft Marine.

It provided a vessel equipped with multi-beam sonar to help survey the search area.

Emergency services had received a Mayday call from the vessel when it began taking in water at around 8.45 am on Tuesday, December 12th.

Commissioners of Irish Lights vessel Granuaile joined in the search for the missing fishermanCommissioners of Irish Lights vessel Granuaile joined in the search for the missing fisherman

The Dublin-based Coast Guard helicopter R116, along with Coast Guard units attached to Clogherhead, Greenore and Drogheda and the Clogherhead RNLI lifeboat participated in the search, along with a number of local vessels and the Commissioners of Irish Lights vessel Granuaile.

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ESB’s 2040 strategy Driven to Make a Difference: Net Zero by 2040 sets out a clear roadmap for ESB to achieve net zero emissions by 2040. 

ESB will develop and connect renewable energy to decarbonise the electricity system by 2040. ESB will invest in the development of new renewable generation, including onshore and offshore wind and solar, and will significantly increase the amount of renewable generation connected to our electricity networks.

ESB will:

  • Deliver more than a fivefold increase in our renewable generation portfolio to 5,000MW.
  • Reduce carbon intensity of generation fleet from 414 to 140gCO2/kWh by 2030.
  • Decarbonise 63% of our generation output by 2030 and 100% by 2040 (up from c20% now).

Offshore wind

ESB know the importance of offshore wind in tackling climate change and delivering net zero. Ireland has a unique capability given its prime location to take advantage of the potential of offshore wind. ESB are working hard to develop offshore wind projects for the benefit of everyone across society in Ireland and the UK. This includes ongoing engagement with marine users and local communities so ESB can deliver these significant projects.

Offshore wind will play a major role globally in our fight against climate change. It will help to replace energy generated by burning fossil fuels with that from a clean, safe and secure renewable energy source. Ireland’s geographic location on the exposed edge of the Atlantic presents us with a significant opportunity to generate electricity from wind – both offshore and onshore.

Power from onshore wind farms currently provide over one-third of Ireland’s electricity needs. But, whilst its marine area is many times the size of its landmass, Ireland’s offshore wind potential is only starting to be realised. ESB have a coastline stretching over 3,000km but only one operational offshore wind farm – Arklow Bank, with a capacity of 25 MW. In contrast, Belgium’s coastline is only 63km long, but it has already developed more than 2,000 MW of offshore wind. In Great Britain, with a coastline four times the length of ours, offshore wind generation now equates to over 440 Arklow Banks, with an installed capacity of 11,0000 MW as of late 2021.

The Irish Government's target to install 5,000 MW of offshore wind capacity in our maritime area by 2030 is set out in the Climate Action Plan 2021. It also has the objective to source 80% of Ireland’s electricity needs from renewables by the same year. In line with this, ESB is applying its professional and proven engineering expertise to the challenges set within the Climate Action Plan.

ESB are committed to playing a strong role in developing Ireland’s offshore wind potential for the benefit of the people of Ireland. This will be done in consultation with marine users and local communities, and with due care for the marine environment.