Ireland Awards First Maritime Area Consents for Offshore Wind Energy

Ireland offshore wind
Ireland designated its first projects as it works to develop its offshore wind energy (file photo)

Published Dec 23, 2022 3:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

Ireland took a key step forward in its efforts to develop its first offshore wind energy projects. Seven proposed projects were designated by the government giving them the ability to move forward to apply for development permission and to participate in the country’s upcoming first auction for offshore wind expected to launch early in 2023.

The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan called today’s development a “major milestone in delivering on our climate ambitions and securing our energy security.” Ireland issued Maritime Area Consents (MACs) to the first phase of seven offshore renewable energy projects including proposals from some of the leaders in the industry.

According to the minister, the awarding of MACs ensures that only projects with the greatest viability to deliver Ireland’s ambitious energy targets can progress into the planning system. The award of a MAC followed a comprehensive assessment, by the Department of the Environment, Climate, and Communications, into each project’s financial and technical competency. 

"With the award of Maritime Area Consents [MACs] to seven Phase One projects today, we have given Ireland’s most viable and well-advanced offshore energy projects the opportunity to progress through the planning system and reach development,” said Minister Ryan. "These first Maritime Area Consents [MACs] have been carefully drafted to promote the speedy and efficient deployment of offshore renewable energy, while ultimately protecting the State’s rich and unique maritime resource.”

The projects designated by the government include the 375MW Oriel Wind Park proposed by Parkwind and ESB, Arklow Bank 2 from SSE Renewables, and the 900MW Dublin Array from RWE and Saorgus. Statkraft received the designation for its 500MW North Irish Sea Array, EDF and Fred Olsen for the 1.5GW Codling Wind Park (Codling 1 and Codling 2), and Corio Generation for the 450MW Skerd Rocks.

Each of the projects can now begin its pre-planning applications and it prepares them to participate in Ireland’s first auction for offshore wind. The goal is to procure approximately 2.5GW of electricity generating capacity. The government approved the terms for the auction in November and is expected to begin qualification early in 2023. Results for the first auction are expected to be released in June 2023.

The government also recently updated its climate action plan. Ireland has set a goal for 7 GW offshore wind generation capability this decade. Long-term they are targeting 30 GW of offshore wind including floating turbines in the Atlantic.