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Power From The Sea - Offshore Renewable Energy
The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD - “Ireland’s wind, waves and tides offer huge, clean, sustainable sources of offshore renewable energy
The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, has launched a public consultation on the draft second Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP II). This plan sets out Ireland’s strategy for the future of offshore renewable energy…
(L to R) Glenn Carr, Iarnród Éireann, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Jack Chambers TD and Paul Lennon, Head of Offshore Wind and Hydrogen at ESB
The ESB and Rosslare’s port authority, Iarnród Éireann, have signed a joint agreement to co-operate on offshore wind development in the Celtic and Irish Seas. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) draws on ESB’s plans to develop a “portfolio” of offshore…
Aerial view of Cork Harbour and the Port of Cork
The ESB and the Port of Cork Company have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding joint plans for Ireland’s offshore wind and green hydrogen development, as the Irish Examiner reports. A key factor of Port of Cork’s masterplan is aiming…
Erebus will be Wales’ first floating offshore wind farm and a key enabler of floating wind in the Celtic Sea. It will allow the local supply chain to ramp up its capabilities to participate in the larger Celtic Sea projects which will follow. This, in turn, will allow the local regions to capture and not lose the huge economic dividends that floating wind offers. Simply Blue conceived Erebus over five years ago
Hugh Kelly, Co-Founder and Group Managing Director of Cork-based renewable energy firm Simply Blue Group, congratulated the Blue Gem Wind team on securing a marine licence for the 100MW Erebus project off the coast of Wales. "We are incredibly proud of…
Dubai, UAE headquartered P&O Maritime Logistics aim to decarbonise the logistics and maritime sector, as part of this they are to converting one of their Multi Carrying Vessels (MCVs) into a Cable-Laying Vessel (CLV) to expand operations globally with building offshore wind farms. Asides this development, AFLOAT adds that P&O Maritime Logistics has offices including Galway from where they provide full-service management for the Marine Institute’s research vessels including newbuild RV Tom Crean.
Dubai, UAE based P&O Maritime Logistics, has announced plans to convert one of their Multi-Carrying Vessels (MCV’s) into a Cable-Laying Vessel (CLV) for use in the renewable energy sector.  Powered by alternative energy, the vessel will be the first-of-its-kind within…
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney will be quizzed on the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2023 at an Oireachtas committee on Wednesday (Feb 22) The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action has invited Mr Coveney, a former…
The winning team “Power Up” Back row, L to R: Manuel Bruch, PhD student and event organising team, UCD; Ikechukwu Ogbu, ATU – Galway; Martin Walsh, Derek Thorton, Lecturer, ATU Galway, Dr Rick Officer, Vice President for Research and Innovation, ATU; and James Briton, PhD Student and event organizing team, UCD. Middle Row, L to R: Orla Skehill, learning Technologist, ATU; Damien Toner; Tenis Tanjan, Frank Kane, Gail Quinn, HR Leader & HRBP EMEA, Trane Technologies. Front row, L to R: Dr Jack Saad; Dr Carine Gachon, Head of Transcend and Event organising team; Edbin Ostilio Buezo Zuniga; Ontiretse Ishmael; Xing Ying Chuang; Dr Orla Flynn, ATU President; Peter Turley, Corporate Sales Speaker and Trainer.
A student team has won the Irish leg of an international contest for a design that draws on hydropower and wind power to generate electricity stored in a battery. The “affordable clean energy generator system” uses both hydropower and wind…
The Corrib Gas field off the coast of County Mayo
A Mayo TD has called for windfall tax on profits of the Corrib gas field to be ring-fenced for the Erris region of north Mayo. Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway Walsh said the company trebled profits in the first six…
The second annual Seafarers’ Conference with the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) at the Castletroy Park, Hotel, also on February 23rd
Three national marine events take place in Limerick next week, involving offshore wind energy, aquaculture and the fishing industry. On the eve of the Irish Skipper Expo at the University of Limerick (UL), IFA Aquaculture is hosting its annual conference…
Jared Peters, Head of Green Rebel’s Marine division
Cork Harbour Offshore specialists Green Rebel will today (Thursday) share their techniques for mapping and identifying areas of the seabed suitable for wind farm developments with experts from across the globe. The company provides site investigation services to the offshore…
An international law firm has established a practice group specialising in offshore wind at its Dublin offices. Law firm Clark Hill LLP said it intends to offer expertise in the “rapidly growing Irish offshore wind industry “ and steer clients…
Ireland’s first “hydrogen valley” will be established in Galway port
The EU is giving 8 million euros to set up Ireland’s first “hydrogen valley” in Galway port as one of nine such projects across Europe. The EU funding is a significant boost for the multi-million euro green energy scheme, which…
Energia logo
Energia intends to deploy marine acoustic monitoring equipment off the coasts of Co Waterford and Co Wexford between now and 24 February, subject to weather and operational constraints. The deployments are part of works for Energia’s North Celtic Sea and…
Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan
Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan says that offshore wind generators will be required to make “substantial annual contributions” to community benefit funds. He says that coastal and marine communities will “benefit significantly from offshore renewable electricity projects” as a result.…
Two separate projects, the Codling Wind Park, and the Oriel wind farm (above) project have announced second-phase public consultation dates
Several offshore windfarm companies which have secured maritime area consents from the Government are holding further public consultations on their plans. The maritime area consents (MACs) were recently awarded by Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan, and permit the projects to…
A Wind Farm on the North Sea
A team of German scientists has suggested that offshore wind farms in the North Sea could significantly impact the ecosystem. The scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon Research Institute used numerical modelling to show how there could be physical disruptions to…

Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.


The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

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