And it says strategic investment of €42 billion over the next 10 years could create 2,500 jobs in the sector.
Produced by the Carbon Trust for the Irish Wind Energy Association and part-funded by Green Tech Skillnet, ‘Harnessing Our Potential’ calls for strategic investment into one or more Irish ports to take advantage of the commercial opportunity of delivering 3.5GW of offshore wind by 2030. This is the level required by the State’s Climate Action Plan.
In a detailed readiness assessment of 16 Irish ports under physical characteristics and connectivity, Waterford was one of just two ports – along with Dublin, which is already regarded as at capacity – to meet all requirements.
Waterford also scored strongly for availability of additional land for development, proximity to existing offshore wind farm developments and access to the national road network.
The report’s authors say: “The [Port of Waterford’s] physical characteristics and connectivity mean it has good potential to serve the growth in offshore wind.
“t is currently one of the few ports in the Republic of Ireland capable of handling the weight of larger offshore wind turbines. Existing brownfield land at the port already in use for storing onshore wind turbines has the potential to accommodate staging with little investment or manufacturing with significant investment.
“Given the area available to the Port, it is well-placed to serve the construction stage of offshore wind with a certain level of investment. Redevelopment of other lands around Belview has also the potential for the Port to become an offshore wind cluster if the economic case can be proven.”
Commenting on the report, Port of Waterford chief executive Frank Ronan said: “There is clearly a huge commercial opportunity as Ireland moves more and more towards renewable energy to meet our international commitments to address climate change.
“This wide-ranging report puts clear data behind that opportunity and challenges all of us to seize the opportunity.
“From our own perspective at Waterford, we have been working for some time to position Belview as an ideal location for this type of activity over the coming decade and well beyond 2030. This is a central theme in both our Corporate Plan to 2023 and Masterplan to 2044.
“We look forward to further constructive engagement with multiple stakeholders to advance this ambition.”
The full report, which is available to read HERE, notes that Ireland currently lacks the ready infrastructure to build offshore wind farms, meaning that we would potentially lose “billions … unless strateguc investment decisions are made now”.