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Ireland’s first offshore wind auction is underway

ByJerzy Nawrocki

Oct 19, 2021

The Department of the Environment, Climate, and Communications in the Republic of Ireland today launched a public consultation on the country’s first auction to supply electricity from the offshore wind as part of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 1), which also provides financial assistance to renewable energy projects in Ireland. Ireland’s first offshore auction is indeed a step toward the country’s aim of producing up to 80 percent clean electricity by the year 2030, with five gigawatts from offshore wind.

According to the Irish government website, the goal of this targeted consultation is to engage stakeholders and obtain feedback on areas of the Terms and Conditions to ensure the efficient and affordable execution of the renewable electricity projects under the ORESS 1. All interested parties are being asked for their opinions.

Minister for the Environment, Climate Change, and Communications Eamon Ryan said, “The rise of offshore wind energy will play a vital role in assuring a supply of sustainable power for households and businesses throughout Ireland, as well as allowing us to electrify industries such as heat and transportation.” It will also help us achieve our climate targets of reducing overall emissions by 51 percent by 2030 and reaching “net zero” by 2050.

“Offshore Wind Limited (OWL), which is a joint venture (JV) of Cobra and the Flotation Energy, is poised to create two offshore wind farms in Ireland with a combined capacity of 2.5GW,” Power Technology stated in July. This includes 1 GW of fixed-bottom offshore wind off the coast of Dublin and 1.5 GW of floating offshore wind off the coast of Ireland’s southeast. OWL delivered the Kincardine offshore floating wind station in Scotland.

New policy has highlighted the growing significance of renewable energy production in Ireland, increasing confidence in its long-term viability and allowing investment in a wider range of technologies. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020, which was published in early October, lays out a new road to fulfil Ireland’s 2050 net-zero emissions objectives through a set of 5-year economy-wide carbon budgets. The bill reflects Ireland’s recent efforts to provide a clear and trustworthy framework for decarbonization which sends strong signals to renewable energy investment.

This new age began with the release of the 2019 Climate Action Plan. It focused on the need for public and private sector assistance in developing Ireland’s renewable energy market. The plan connected a state-led auction initiative – the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) – with an objective for 15 percent of renewable electricity demand of Ireland to originate from the corporate PPAs (power purchase agreements) by the year 2030, reiterating Ireland’s pledge to source 70% of the electricity from the renewable sources by the year 2030. It also emphasized the importance of addressing offshore wind growth planning, consenting, as well as grid-connection challenges.

The 2019 plan is supported by the Coalition’s Programme for Government (PfG), which was ratified by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and the Green Party Coalition in 2020 June. It declared its intention to achieve net-zero emissions by the year 2050 and increased the offshore wind development objective from 3.5 to 5 gigawatts by the close of the decade.

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