The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, T.D. today (Wednesday the 10th of June 2020) launched a consultation to inform the best model to deliver on our offshore wind ambitions.
Under the Climate Action Plan, 70% of Ireland’s electricity will be generated from renewable energy by 2030. At least 3,500 MW of this, enough to power over 3 million homes, will come from offshore wind.
Minister Bruton said,
“Decarbonising our electricity grid is central to our plan to deliver on our climate ambitions. 3,500 MW of the step up in renewable energy, enough to power over 3 million homes, will come from offshore wind. It is crucial that we put in place a model that allows us to scale up and realise the changes required.
“This consultation, along with ongoing reforms to our marine spatial planning regime and the forthcoming Renewable Electricity Support Scheme, is an important step towards establishing a clear policy framework for offshore wind in Ireland. I encourage all stakeholders to engage and put forward their views.”
Last year, a working group was established to look at offshore grid development options with membership from Eirgrid, CRU and ESB Networks. A study was undertaken on behalf of the group into how other European countries approach offshore grid planning and to examine potential options that may be suitable for an Irish context. These range from a developer led scenario, where each project would design its own connection to a more centralised plan led offshore transmission development. That report is being published today alongside the consultation paper to facilitate stakeholder consideration of the different options available.
The report outlines four models chosen as scenario examples to explore the advantages and disadvantages, from the various stakeholder perspectives, of the various approaches available. The ultimate choice of grid delivery model will come from any point along the full spectrum of options available, informed by careful consideration of the key drivers in the Irish context.
Following the consultation, the Government will decide on the appropriate offshore grid model for Ireland, which will be aligned with the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) and the development consent regime for the maritime area as set out in the Maritime Planning and Development Management Bill (MPDM).
The consultation is open for submissions until Wednesday 1 July.