Could new policies be the “great reset” for Ireland’s offshore wind?
Recently published policies effectively put an end to the open-door regime in Ireland, which could be a showstopper for the many announced projects without secured maritime area consents.
Ireland is getting a regulatory framework in place to meet their target of 5 GW offshore wind by 2030. The spring of 2023 has been eagerly awaited with an offtake auction planned in April for the first phase of projects with area consents, and the allocation of area consents for Phase 2 was expected to launch in Q1 2023.
New offshore wind-related documents published
Two recently published policy documents shed more light on the future framework, but also potentially delay and limit the scope of Phase 2:
The Policy Statement for Phase 2 establishes that all future offshore wind development in Ireland is expected to happen within Offshore Renewable Energy Designated Areas.
- The designated areas are yet to be defined, but it is given that for Phase 2, they will be aligned with and decided by available grid capacity.
- This new framework could mean that the offshore wind capacity up for grabs in Phase 2 could be as low as 700 MW, as any additional capacity will depend on how much grid capacity is left from Phase 1.
The recently published draft Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan II (OREDP II) gives some insight into the potential locations of designated areas for Phase 3, focusing on hydrogen production, and the Enduring Regime that will follow. Three potential ‘Broad Areas of Interest’ have been identified – all intended for floating offshore wind – and only a few of the currently announced projects are located in the areas.
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