Artificial Island to be base for Dogger Bank offshore wind
The Guardian has a report on Dutch system operator TenneT's plans (see image) to construct an artificial island on the Dogger Bank in the North Sea which would act as a harbour and accommodation base for workers installing large offshore wind farms in the central North Sea. The report can be found here >>
Ireland may purchase statistical transfers
Dr Paul Deane, a leading energy researcher from UCC has written an opinion piece for RTE on Ireland's failure to meet EU climate targets for 2020. He explains how it may be possible for the Government to purchase "statistical transfers" from other EU member states in order to meet our EU obligations. As the name implies, the purchase of these transfers gives Ireland no benefits in terms of electricity produced, employment, tax or supply chain development - all we are buying is compliance with EU rules on decarbonisation of the economy. Given that decarbonisation of the Irish economy is a strategic aim of Government to 2050, it is difficult to see how purchase of statistical transfers will progress Irish decarbonisation - in fact, we are decarbonising the other member state's economy in these purchases and any benefits to the Irish economy are lost. Clearly, Irish offshore wind energy is ready for deployment at scale and would represent significant benefits in terms of electricity produced, employment, tax and industrial supply chain development. Dr Deane's piece can be read here >>
This documentary gives an impression of the R&D that goes into the production of the gearboxes that are used in the latest offshore wind turbines.
Vestas currently supply the world's highest capacity offshore wind turbine. This model has recently been used in the Irish Sea at an extension of the Burbo Bank project, offshore Liverpool and the coming years will see further use of turbines of this capacity in the Irish Sea. This video from Vestas shows the people involved in their use at Burbo Bank Extension, including pre-assembly of these turbines at Belfast Port.
Vindeby was the worlds's first offshore wind farm and was installed in 1991 approximately 2km off the south Danish coast. The turbines from manufacturer Bonus (now part of Siemens) have now reached the end of their operational life and the project is being decommissioned by the current owners DONG Energy. This video documents the decommissioning process.
Paul Deane, a well known post-doctoral researcher in University College Cork has recently published a useful summary of key misconceptions on Irish Climate and Energy Policy. Read more >>
The European Union's Connecting Europe Facility has awarded the Celtic Interconnector €4 million in advanced feasibility funding - this project and other interconnectors will greatly assist Ireland both in availing of stable power prices from the European mainland, when required, as well as allowing export of surplus green energy from Ireland, when available. See the European Commissions press release >>
May 2017 Offshore wind turbines are now 9 MW
Offshore wind turbines are now much larger than their onshore equivalents having undergone rapid technological development in the last few years. Their generating capacity is now at 9 MW for the largest models, three times that of two or three years ago. This has in turn led to lower costs, particularly marine civil engineering costs. Lower costs of installation means that the cost of producing electricity from these machines is lower, leading to a lower cost of electricity overall. This link describes some of the larger offshore wind turbines available in the market. One of these, the Vestas V164, holds the world record for the most electricity produced by one wind turbine in a 24 hour period. This record production of 216,000 kWh in 24 hours is equivalent to 15 years of electricity for one Irish household.
April 2017 Ireland Unlikely to Meet 2020 Targets for Greenhouse Gas Emission for Agriculture / Transport Sector
Ireland is unlikely to meet 2020 greenhouse gas emission targets for sectors including agriculture, transport, residential, commercial, waste and non-energy intensive industry, according to figures released on 13 April by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions reduction target is 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 for these sectors; however the EPA projections indicate that emissions will be only 4-6% below 2005 levels by 2020. An expected shortfall in meeting 2020 targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy further adds to the challenge that is facing the State. New obligations for Ireland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the years 2021-2030 are expected to be agreed at EU level in 2017.
The further Ireland is from its 20 per cent reduction target in 2020, the more difficult the compliance challenges in the following decade will be. For the period 2015-2020, agriculture emissions are projected to increase by 4-5% while transport emissions are projected to increase 10-12 % on 2015 levels. Commenting on the projections, EPA director general Laura Burke said "We are an island nation, vulnerable to climate change. We've a great deal to gain by becoming a leader in moving to a low-carbon economy." See full detail on these figures in the EPA web published report Greenhouse Gas Emission Projections 2016 to 2035.
March 2017 Minister Coveney signals that the time has come to use Ireland's offshore wind resource
In a recent newspaper article, Minister Simon Coveney indicated that offshore wind projects are the "sustainable option in the future". This view is driven by three factors; continuing planning difficulties for onshore wind energy, higher demand for renewable energy and ever higher renewable energy targets (see below). Dublin Array welcomes this recognition that offshore wind energy is a large, sustainable and cost competitive Irish energy resource - which is untapped at the moment.
February 2017 New Renewable Energy Directive
EU members have agreed a new renewable energy consumption target of 27% for 2030 as part of the provisions of the new Renewable Energy Directive. This means that, in the EU as a whole, 27% of overall energy consumption will be from renewable energy by 2030. Individual national targets ("effort sharing" in Brussels speak) have not yet been agreed but for comparison, Ireland's 2020 target is 16%. Given the scale of renewable resources available to Ireland, particularly offshore wind, it seems unlikely that Ireland will be able to avoid raising its target from 16% to 27%. This will involve a significant change in our production and consumption of energy. It is noteworthy that the new Directive also mandates that the progression from 2018 to 2030 must be linear.
Dublin Array projections indicate that Ireland will therefore need to install at least 400 MW of wind energy every year from 2018 to 2030 whereas the historical average is much less than this (please email if you would like to see this analysis). For comparison, recent controversial "midland" type wind energy proposals have been approx. 125 MW each. It seems clear that this scale of wind energy development needs significant projects at sea. Wave and tidal energy are not yet technologically mature, much less commercially mature, and therefore offshore wind is the only realistic marine renewable energy for some time to come.
January 2017 Cost of offshore wind energy continues to fall
The UK Government set a target for the UK's offshore wind industry to bring the cost of electricity from offshore wind down by a third to £100/MWh by 2020. A recently published report shows that this target has been achieved four years ahead of forecast. This continues the Europe-wide trend of rapidly reducing costs and high confidence in offshore wind's ability to go on delivering cost savings through technology innovation and industry collaboration. Clearly now is the time for Ireland to begin to use its offshore wind resource for compliance with 2020 and 2030 EU targets.
December 2016 Steep fall in cost of offshore wind
The remarkable reduction in the cost of offshore wind energy has continued in late 2016. A recent tender from a consortium headed by Shell has tendered a new record low cost of €54.5/MWh for a 700 MW project known as Borssele IV/V. This price is approximately half of the price recently agreed by the UK government for the new nuclear generation station at Hinckley C in Somerset. It is expected that further reduction in offshore wind tenders will occur. Clearly, the view that offshore wind energy is expensive is now outdated.
November 2016 Data Centres and electric vehicles will raise renewables targets
Apple, along with many other data centre operators has pledged to use 100% renewable energy in its business. This has the effect in Ireland of raising the 2020 Irish target for green energy which is set at a legally binding 40% of consumption. If data centres and other high technology and green businesses need 100% green energy and the rest of the economy needs 40%, the effective target is raised accordingly. However, it is now clear that there are problems with the overall Irish decarbonisation project, particularly with agricultural emissions and transport.
The Irish Government position is that our climate targets are too onerous and is negotiating flexibility on 2020 and 2030 targets with the EU. In doing this it will be imperative that Ireland is seen to maximise its decarbonisation effort in areas where it can do so.
One obvious example of where Ireland can maximise its effort is the realisation of the clearly large potential for offshore wind off the east coast where it can supply the existing and well-known generation shortage (and 100% green energy demand from new data centres) on the Irish east coast. Other EU states have already heavily committed to offshore wind, at much higher installation costs, in order to reach 2020 targets.
It will not be credible for Ireland to argue that it should further defer its use of offshore wind when it can now take advantage of the lower installation costs for offshore wind which have recently emerged industry-wide. To not do so while seeking other climate concessions will risk losing the goodwill of 2020-compliant member states thereby increasing the risk of significant fines for Ireland's 2020 non-compliance. The industry trade body, NOW Ireland has projected that Ireland will need 1000 MW of offshore wind to reach 2020 domestic green electricity target.
October 2016 Brexit and offshore wind in the NW of England
The old North Sea fishing ports of Hull and Grimsby in NE England have experienced a resurgence in recent years. While the fishing is gone, the large scale development of offshore wind energy in the North Sea has brought turbine manufacturing facilities to this coast (View). However, this development is driven largely by companies like Siemens which are based in other EU countries, is driven by EU energy targets and is based to a significant degree on exports of wind turbines to other EU members. An interesting anomaly is that these same communities voted strongly for Brexit (View). This will clearly damage the investment environment for existing and further investment in this area.
The Irish Sea is a smaller but no less promising arena for the development of offshore wind energy. But while there have been large investments on the east coast of England in towns like Hull and Grimsby and on the German and Danish coasts, investment in services for offshore wind on the east coast of Ireland is limited to Belfast. Unless stopped by Brexit, one company alone, DONG Energy, is expected to invest £5.4 billion by 2019 (View) in the Irish Sea but there is no manufacturing or service base in the south of Ireland to provide goods or services to this investment.
September 2016 Burbo Bank Extension uses world's largest wind turbines
The first of 32 wind turbines has been successfully installed at Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm, under construction by DONG Energy in Liverpool Bay in the Irish Sea. These turbines are the world's largest at almost 200 m in total height. Continuing advances in offshore wind turbine technology have led to significant cost reductions. The industry expects to be at the same price as gas-generated electricity by 2020 and even most cost efficient thereafter. Ireland now needs to develop its offshore wind resource on the Irish side of the Irish Sea so that it can reach its EU 2020 renewable electricity targets.
August 2016 Ireland can reach 2020 EU renewable electricity target
NOW Ireland, the representative body for offshore wind energy in Ireland will, as part of its submission to Government on the upcoming consultation on incentive schemes for renewable energy, demonstrate that Ireland's 2020 electricity targets for the consumption of renewable electricity (40%) can be met by utilising offshore wind energy. It is very unlikely, according to NOW Ireland figures, that the target will be met without using Irish offshore wind. Because the the 2020 EU target is legally binding and because there is no scope for other Irish energy sectors, such as heat and transport, to make up the difference, NOW Ireland expects that Ireland will reverse its current policy of not using its offshore wind energy. The NOW analysis will be presented in this News section when it becomes available.
July 2016 Dutch Government to build largest offshore wind farms in the world
A recent press release from the Dutch Government commits the Netherlands to building the largest offshore wind farms in the world over the next few years. The process has begun with the awarding of a contract to Danish company Dong for the 700 MW Borselle Project at an electricity price of 7.27 euro cent per kWh. This price reflects an acceleration in the ongoing downward trend in the cost of offshore wind energy. For comparison, this price is less than a third of the 2015 consumer price of electricity in Ireland according to Eurostat. Dutch Minister for Energy Kamp stated: "Over the next few years the five largest wind farms in the world will be built in the Netherlands. With the development of offshore wind farms we are building a new economic sector. The development of offshore wind farms has already created around 4,000 jobs in the Netherlands, such as in manufacturing, construction and research. This is expected to grow to 10,000 jobs by 2020". June 2016 Minister Naughten to sign Political declaration on energy cooperation between the North Seas Countries
Ireland is a founder member and signatory of the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI) and on 6th June 2016 signed a "Political declaration on energy cooperation between the North Seas Countries". It is clear from this declaration that NSCOGI places great importance on offshore wind energy and offshore grid - these are mentioned more than 30 times in the draft declaration. This is because NSCOGI has been identified by EU Vice-President Sefcovic as a key driver of Energy Union which aims to reduce Europe's reliance on imported fossil fuels and to comply with international climate agreements by utilising offshore wind and by linking electricity markets. Ireland's involvement clearly poses significant policy questions for Irish Energy Minister Naughten because: 1. Ireland is the only NSCOGI country which has a large offshore wind resource but has no plan for the use of that resource. There is therefore a glaring disconnect between current Irish policy on offshore wind and the clear intent of the declaration. 2. The declaration states that NSCOGI is going to be strengthened even further; this will mean that the Irish policy disconnect will come under progressively more intense scrutiny in Europe. 3. It is now clear that at least 3000 MW of offshore wind will be required for Irish domestic 2030 targets alone; 3000 MW of offshore wind is immediately available in the Irish Sea (see March news below) but there is no Irish policy to use it. 4. The cost of offshore wind is expected to be lower than gas generated electricity by 2020 - see image from BVG Associates report below. In addition, CEO's of the leading European wind turbine manufacturers published a position paper where it is stated that if the EU offshore wind industry can access a pipeline of projects between 2016 and 2025, the expected cost of the electricity produced by offshore wind energy will be €80 per MWh or less. Irish politicians and civil servants generally hold the mistaken opinion that offshore wind is too expensive but this is no longer a valid position.
5. Ireland is going to miss 2020 EU targets for renewable energy consumption and will now attempt to roll over into 2030 targets instead of paying fines; immediate policy action will be needed if this is to be plausibly suggested to 2020-compliant member states. 6. Onshore wind deployment is experiencing difficulties in Ireland and there is a very long lead time for other Irish renewable electricity technologies, other than offshore wind, to be deployed at the necessary gigawatt scale. 7. Given the EU commitment and financial assistance that will become available, there are huge economic benefits that can accrue to Ireland from promotion of domestic offshore wind and from active participation in Energy Union.
May 2016 Visit of Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete to Dublin
Commissioner Canete is responsible in the European Commission for EU Climate Action and Energy. His visit to Dublin follows on from Vice-President Sefcovic's visit in September 2015. Both were in Ireland to promote the EU's Energy Union which will integrate electricity markets and grid around the Irish and North Seas. Energy Union will also promote the large scale development of offshore wind in this region. This is good news for Ireland as it is the only EU member state with a large offshore wind resource with no plan to exploit that resource; clearly this cannot continue under Energy Union.
Ireland will miss EU 2020 energy targets and is expected to try to negotiate a rollover into 2030 targets instead. This will naturally require an immediate demonstration of Irish commitment and it is expected that a firm programme for using our offshore wind will have to be one of the first signals of such commitment. Read Commissioner Canete's speech here.
April 2016 France announces third round of offshore wind programme
The French Government has announced a third round of licencing for offshore wind energy. The first two tenders totalled 3,000 MW and the third is expected to be 3,000 MW. The UK already has a very progressive offshore wind programme as have the Belgian, Dutch, German, Danish and Swedish governments. In fact, Ireland is the only EU member state with an Atlantic offshore wind resource that does not have a programme for the development of that resource. This is an anomaly in EU energy policy. It is starkly at odds with two aspects of the EU Energy Union programme.
Firstly, Ireland has very poor performance compared to all other EU members in terms of a) energy import dependence, b) programme for achieving EU targets and c) greenhouse gas emissions per capita. Secondly, Ireland is also not developing some very significant indigenous renewable energy resources, the largest of which is offshore wind. It is clear, given the scale of the Irish resource, that Ireland can contribute very significant offshore wind capacity into Energy Union. The lack of any such development programme undermines Energy Union.
March 2016 Hornsea Project One to be world's largest offshore wind farm
DONG Energy is to build the world's largest offshore wind farm off the east coast of England. The Hornsea Project One, at 1.2 GW (1,200 Megawatts), will be capable of powering well over 1 million British homes. Currently, Ireland has immediate access to at least double this capacity (approx. 3 GW) in four wind energy projects off the Irish east coast - see image.
These projects have completed their consent applications and are currently waiting for a change in Irish Government policy before going ahead. Irish Government energy policy will have to change because under current policies Ireland has failed to reach its 2020 EU targets at 16% of energy demand from renewable sources. Ireland has plenty of renewable energy resources and worst-in-class positions in energy import dependency and in greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore unlikely to be able to argue for a lesser target for 2030 (27%) than its fellow EU member states. Increasing economic growth, data centre demand and an anticipated increase in methane emissions from the Irish dairy herd mean that the situation will become more challenging with time. A radical energy policy shift is inevitable.
20 visionary MEPs (including Sean Kelly MEP) have signed a manifesto calling for the more rapid deployment of offshore grid and wind in the EU Northern Seas (which includes the Irish Sea). The document states in part "We call on decision-makers from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, together with industry, social partners, and the EU Commission, to build on the existing cooperation structures (particularly NSCOGI) and create a new high level political process in order to make Northern Seas regional cooperation a showcase for the Energy Union".
This is a practical recognition that for the EU to escape its reliance on imported fossil fuels it must construct new sustainable electricity generation and transmission capacity. Offshore wind has been identified as a key part of Energy Union. Ireland, as a country with 85% reliance on fossil fuel imports and a large offshore wind resource, must be careful to grasp the opportunities that this presents. In particular, Ireland should play an active role in NSCOGI. See the manifesto here or send a message to Dublin Array and we will email it to you.
February 2016 NSCOGI to have enhanced role in Energy Union - Irish participation essential
NSCOGI (Northern Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative) is a regional cooperation agreement between countries surrounding the Irish Sea and the North Sea (together the "Northern Seas" as proposed by the then Minister Eamon Ryan). NSCOGI has been in existence for several years and is administered on behalf of the signatories by the Benelux Secretariat. The original declaration can be viewed here >>
It is one of several proposals for an EU-wide enhanced electricity network all of which aim to both increase efficiency of currently separate EU electricity markets and to allow large scale deployment of interconnected offshore wind in the Northern Seas. Vice President Maroš Šefčovič has now identified NSCOGI as a tool of Energy Union which is a very welcome development. However, there is a danger that with the inevitable NSCOGI focus on the North Sea, the Irish Sea could be left behind. If this happens, Ireland will miss out on a very important economic development. DCENR, as Ireland's NSCOGI representative, must be very vigilant to ensure that the proposal does not focus entirely on the North Sea and that it ensures an opportunity for export of offshore wind from Ireland. With that in mind, NSCOGI should benefit from the involvement of senior Irish civil servants.
Eamon Ryan has written a summary note of a recent NSCOGI conference held at Ostende where he attended as a senior associate with the consultancy E3G. NOW Ireland (www.nowireland.ie) represented the Irish offshore wind industry. There were no other Irish participants. View Eamon's summary here >> January 2016 Germany Offshore Wind added 2.3 GW of wind energy generation in 2015
Germany has a small territory in the North Sea, when compared to both its land area and to its North Sea neighbours. However, the wind energy capacity installed in these waters during was 2.3 GW (2,300 MW) which approximates to the entire onshore wind energy capacity of the Republic of Ireland in 2015. This installation rate demonstrates the suitability of offshore wind energy for rapid deployment at significant scale. There is 3,000 MW of offshore capacity currently ready for Government consent off the east coast of Ireland (http://www.nowireland.ie/offshore-wind-ireland.html). It is Irish Government policy (Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan) that this resource should be used but, even in the context of 85% Irish reliance of imported fossil fuels, there is no plan to use it. Read more >> December 2015 Block Island is America's first offshore wind project
Construction work has begun on the first offshore wind farm in the US. Read more >> November 2015 Ireland and France deepen energy relationship
Ireland and France signed an energy cooperation agreement in mid-November 2015 (View here). Minister Alex White stated that the agreement represented a "deepening of our partnership on energy efficiency and renewable technology, in particular in the area of marine energy and smart grids". It is important to note that this signing is in the context of the development of the Celtic Interconnector between Brittany and Cork which will eventually allow the export to the EU mainland (bypassing the UK network) of offshore wind energy from the Irish Sea. The representative association for offshore wind energy in Ireland, NOW Ireland, has pointed out that this interconnector should be extended from Cork into the Irish Sea so as to join up with ISLES project region and to ensure full meshing of the new network. NOW Ireland calls this overall project the French Irish Sea Green Array (FISGA) and its policy paper can be viewed here >> November 2015 Energy Union Factsheet for Ireland released
A National factsheet on the State of the Energy Union has been published by the EU Commission for each member state. The factsheet for Ireland has the following interesting observations:
According to EurObserv'ER, in 2013, the share of direct and indirect renewable energy related employment in total employment of the economy in Ireland was at about 0.25%, below the EU average of 0.53%.
According to its 2015 projections, Ireland is not on track to reach its 2020 [greenhouse gas emission reduction] target, with a 10% gap as compared to 2005.
With a share of 8% of renewable energy in 2013, Ireland is close to its 2013/14 interim targets as set out in the Renewable Energy Directive. However, the existing policy, market and budget framework appears to be insufficient to enable the step-wise achievement of the 2020 objective (16%).
In Ireland the Agriculture sector is the largest in terms of share of total [greenhouse gas] emissions, with a value that is nearly three times the EU average. As a result, Irish emissions per capita are among the highest in the EU.
While the factsheet understandably does not point it out, these problems can all be solved by a fuller utilisation of the Irish renewable energy resource. In particular, Ireland can very quickly deploy at least 3,000 MW of offshore wind for export to its EU neighbours. The full factsheet can be read here >> October 2015 China goes offshore
China, with very significant coal deposits, is looking to wind power for its future electricity needs. After installing 35,000 MW of onshore wind energy in 2014 (compare about 2,500 MW installed in Ireland from 1992 to 2015), it is now beginning construction of its first offshore wind project of 400 MW. See details here >> September 2015 The IEA has published a factsheet which illustrates the declining R&D budget of nuclear globally and the increasing share of renewables research. Figure 2 illustrates this as well:
NOW Ireland, the industry representative association for offshore wind in Ireland has published a policy position paper in relation to the potential for a regional EU approach to the realisation of the potential of offshore wind in Ireland. This report examines the opportunity for the development of a grid linking Ireland, Scotland and France. Such a grid would significantly increase security of energy supply in each of the countries and would open up an export route to EU energy markets for projects in Ireland and Scotland. The paper can be found
here >> July 2015
Statkraft, the Danish utility, has published an independent report that finds that offshore wind energy will be competitive with gas generated electricity by 2020. The report can be found at:
The image below, from the BVG report, illustrates the trend.
Gwynt y Mor is an offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay in the eastern Irish Sea consisting of 160 Siemens 3.6MW wind turbines. It was built and is owned by RWE Innogy UK. Gwynt y Mor has an installed capacity of 576MW, about the same projected size as Dublin Array, generators. It is capable of generating enough energy to meet the average annual energy needs of around 400,000 homes. The wind farm, including all 160 foundations, turbines, onshore and 2 x offshore substations was officially inaugurated on 18 June 2015.
- For a series of videos on the installation, please click here >> June 2015
Survey works are currently underway to assess seabed conditions for a potential new interconnector between France and Ireland called the Celtic Interconnector.
This interconnector has the potential to link to the 3000MW of offshore wind energy in the western Irish Sea (including Dublin Array) that is provided for in the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan. This would enable Ireland to export offshore wind energy to France and would be an important part of the Energy Union initiative of the Juncker EU Commission.
The Westermost Rough offshore wind farm was recently completed in the North Sea. It uses Siemens 6MW turbines with blades of 75m length each. This video shows a time lapse of the first turbine being erected.
- View >> April 2015
An interesting video on offshore wind turbine installation.
- View >> March 2015
Murphy Contracting has been awarded a £21 million contract to build a new high voltage onshore substation for Dong Energy which will collect the power from the upcoming 580 MW Race Bank offshore wind farm off the east coast of England. This one of several offshore wind projects to be built off the English east coast.
Read more on the following links: - Link 1 (www.dongenergy.co.uk) - Link 2 (www.offshorewind.biz) February 2015
The image below shows the southern ISLES concept being developed by the Scottish Government in partnership withe the Irish Government and the NI Assembly for electrical interconnection in the Irish Sea. This project has the twin aims of;
1. Providing connection infrastructure between Ireland and the mainland EU consistent with the Energy Union being implemented by EU Commissioner Sefcovic.
2. Allowing the large scale development of marine renewables in the Irish Sea and the export of this energy to the mainland EU.
This excellently produced video shows the installation of the Anholt offshore wind energy project off the east coast of Denmark.
View >> December
Please click below for a view from Siemens of the work of offshore wind energy technicians. This type of employment is coming to the Irish East Coast. Hopefully, in the near future, government policy will allow the investment that will provide this employment.
View >> November
Google has recently arranged for a new wind farm to power its new data centre in Holland as part of a commitment to run these facilities with renewable energy. These are nearshore turbines only a few metres offshore - see picture in the link below. Compare with Dublin Array where the turbines will be 10km offshore and will appear from the coast as being half the height of a outstretched thumbnail.
Read more >> October
Germany, a country with vastly less offshore wind resources than Ireland, is moving to ensure that its indigenous, safe, zero-carbon offshore energy resource is developed – see link to newspaper article below. This is in the context of the current EU drive to an energy union. Any such energy union will be driven by both climate concerns and EU energy security and will necessarily involve a corresponding emphasis on an EU-wide electricity network. This network will also be designed to maximise the use of EU offshore wind energy resources. Ireland needs to ensure that it is part of this network when it happens and ensure that we are positioned to export offshore wind-generated electricity to all of our EU neighbours.
Read more >> September
Hull to become major hub for North Sea offshore wind
The port of Hull on the English North Sea coast will become a major hub for the manufacture and maintenance of offshore wind turbines in the North Sea. This is big news for Hull with 1000 direct jobs and many more in spin off industries and services. The Irish Sea is a geographically separate wind energy resource and this poses a question for Irish policy makers; what Irish port will become the major hub for manufacture and service for offshore wind in the Irish Sea? Belfast is already manufacturing turbine parts but little of this economic activity has so far been attracted to other ports in Ireland.
Read more >> August
Irish offshore to be integrated into UK carbon reduction target scheme?
The UK Government intends to encourage Irish renewable energy projects to help the UK to reach carbon reduction targets which are likely to be more and more onerous in the coming decades. This is in the context of the UK Government having to take extraordinary measures for the coming winter to help the lights stay on; this includes bringing older mothballed fossil fuel plants into production again. The threat to UK energy security of the Ukraine crises must also be considered. In all, there is an opportunity for Ireland to supply electricity sustainably to the UK and the wider EU. This export industry will rival agri/food and tourism as a generator of foreign direct investment and tax revenue. See this report in the Irish Times >> July
Ocean Wealth Conference
Minister Rabbitte, at the recent Ocean Wealth conference on the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) stated that "The OREDP is based on a comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment, which found that up to 4,500 MW of offshore wind and 1,500 MW of wave and tidal generation projects could be developed without significant adverse effect on our valuable marine environment." Dublin Array is an important part of this 4500 MW of offshore wind and we look forward to being involved with the sustainable development of Irish marine energy resources. Minister Rabbitte's speech at the conference can be found here >> July
E3G has published reports showing that the EU should construct a North Seas offshore grid (the term “North Seas” includes the Irish Sea) in order to use offshore wind as part of the strategy to make the EU more energy self-sufficient. This is the bigger picture of Irish offshore wind energy export to the UK; in a fully integrated EU electricity grid, the export will be to the EU generally, thereby contributing to the European Energy Security Strategy (EESS).
here to view >> June
A study at some European offshore wind farms shows that seals feed preferentially at turbine bases. Click
here to view the article >> Click here to view the video >> May
2014 AWJ Marine work at Gwent y Mor
The link below gives an impression of the works that take place on a weekly basis during the construction of an offshore wind farm. Gwent y Mor is a large Irish Sea offshore energy project built in proximity to several other large offshore wind energy projects close to the coast of Cumbria.
here to view >> See map here >> April
2014 West of Duddon Sands wind turbines built in Ireland close to completion
A major wind energy project off the coast of Cumbria in the Irish Sea is close to completion. The West of Duddon Sands project of 108 turbines will generate almost 400 MW of power. The project employs 1000 people in construction and will continue to provide significant employment for the next 20-30 years.
here to view >> March
2014 Call for offshore and onshore export plans to be separated
There is a growing realisation that offshore wind energy is well positioned to supply green electricity to the UK before 2020 and that onshore wind resources will be well positioned to do the same after 2020. Offshore wind exports will have significant economic benefits for Ireland and this has been acknowledged by the ESRI in a recent report (View here).
In fact, per unit of electricity exported, there is greater economic benefit to Ireland if that unit comes from offshore wind and so it makes sense to ensure that our offshore wind resources are used as soon as possible to build a sustainable new sector of the economy. Click
here to view >>
2014 Wind energy is good economics for Ireland - SEAI
A recent report from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has found that renewable energy has been a very good news story for Ireland. Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI, said that "wind energy is Ireland's greatest indigenous energy resource, and that we should ensure we exploit it to the benefit of the Irish people". Using our own clean green energy has saved one billion euros in fossil fuel imports in the last five years, has created well over 3,000 sustainable jobs outside of the main urban centres and has not added to household electricity bills because wind energy reduces the wholesale price of electricity. However, Ireland is still well over 80% dependent on imported fossil fuels and there is still a lot of renewable energy to be harnessed. In particular, the offshore wind sector is ready to export to the UK, paving the way for a later export of electricity from onshore wind farms post-2020. Offshore wind energy is also more beneficial to the Irish economy, as compared to the export of onshore wind per unit of electricity, as has been shown by a recent economic analysis carried out by NOW Ireland. This large scale export of wind energy will reduce the dangerous imbalance in Irish energy security. SEAI report: Click
here to view >> Economic briefing note on export of offshore wind: Click
here to view >>
Offshore sector deserves priority in developing our wind energy resources
Another recent article in The Irish Times proposes that export of renewable energy
to the UK takes place in two phases: Phase 1 Offshore will take place pre-2020 and assist the UK in achieving 2020
EU targets while maximising the revenue to Ireland per unit of energy exported Phase 2 Onshore will take place after phase 1 and post-2020 and will allow for
export to mainland EU as well as to UK. Click
here to view >> December
Submissions made to DCENR about export to the UK
Dublin Array and NOW Ireland (www.nowireland.ie)
recently made submissions to the Department of Energy, Communications and Natural
Resources in response to
two public consultations regarding export of renewable energy to the UK (see
link below). The main point made in these submissions is that offshore wind energy
is further ahead in the permitting process and will also provide more tax and
economic spinoff for Irish people per MW. On that basis, offshore wind should
be exported a a Phase 1 Export of the export programme with
onshore wind following
on afterwards as Phase 2 Export when the necessary planning
permissions for onshore projects in the Midlands are in place. The point is also
made that failure to
follow this sequence will have a significant opportunity cost for Ireland. This
cost which must be factored into any cost-benefit analysis that is carried out. Now Ireland
framework consultation response >> Now
Ireland coordination consultation response >> Dublin
framework consultation response >> Dublin
coordination consultation response >> November
Offshore farms 'best bet' for wind energy projects
A recent article
in The Irish Times outlines how Irish offshore wind energy projects
to export large scale wind energy to the UK by 2020 as compared to onshore wind
farms. The article also mentioned economic benefits. In fact, Ireland will get
more economic benefit from exporting offshore wind energy than we would get from
wind energy. In other words, Ireland would earn most in
tax and economic spin-off by exporting offshore wind energy. Click
here to view >> October
2013 The EPA recently reported that Ireland's carbon emissions rose again
in 2012, despite sluggish economic performance. The EPA attributes this in large
part to electricity generation and concludes that the figures underline the requirement
to decouple emissions from economic growth. Click
here to view >> September
2013 The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) was published recently and makes for stark reading. An accessible
summary has been provided by DECC, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. Click
here to view >> July
2013 Renewables to surpass gas by 2016 in the global power mix. Click
here to view >> June
2013 Ireland is energy insecure - almost 90% reliant on fossil fuel imports. Click
here to view >> May
2013 Climate Change speeds up as greenhouse gas hits record level. Click
here to view >> May
2013 Irish EU Presidency launches ISLES II Study - connecting offshore wind
the Irish Sea. Click
here to view >> April
2013 Onshore and offshore wind will form export Mix - Minister. Click
here to view >> March
2013 Minister Rabbitte identifies export opportunity for Irish offshore wind. Click
here to view >> March
2013 European Parliament begins discussions on 2030 renewable energy targets. Click
here to view >> January 2013 British and Irish Governments sign Memorandum of Understanding
on Cooperation in the Energy Sector. Click
here to view the Minister's speech >> September
2012 Taoiseach highlights export potential at Offshore Renewable
Energy conference. Click
here to view
An Taoiseach's speech >> June 2012 Minister Rabbitte agrees process for renewable energy trading
with UK Energy
here to view
announcement >> May 2012 Launch of Renewable Energy Strategy - "Ireland could export
as much electricity
as we consume ourselves” – Minister Rabbitte. Click
here to view Minister Rabbitte's speech >>
Minister Rabbitte outlines renewable export potential
at Energy Ireland conference. Click
here to view Minsiter Rabbitte's speech >>
April 2012 Green Growth examines the impact of wind energy on jobs and the economy
in the EU. The wind energy industry increased its contribution to the EU’s
gross domestic product (GDP) by 33% between 2007 and 2010. In 2010, the industry’s
growth was twice that of the EU’s GDP overall, with the sector contributing €32
billion to an EU economy in slowdown. Download
here >> March 2012 Minister Rabbitte foresees significant export opportunity at IWEA conference. Click
here to view Minister Rabbitte's speech >>