Up to 900MW of renewable electricity is set to be secured in 2025 under a new plan for offshore wind development off Ireland’s south coast.
The Government has published an indicative roadmap for the State’s next offshore wind auction, which will be named ORESS 2.1.
ORESS 1 took place in May 2023, marking a milestone for the country’s offshore wind market, and awarded roughly 3GW of offshore wind generation capacity.
The Government aims to generate 5GW of renewable electricity from offshore by 2030, rising to 20GW by 2040. ORESS 1 awarded licenses to two projects off the east coast (2.6GW) and one off the west coast (450MW). ORESS 2.1 will take place off Ireland’s south coast and will procure up to 900MW of offshore wind.
ORESS 1 secured an average price of €86.05/MWh, one of the lowest prices paid by an emerging offshore wind market in the world.
The publication of the indicative roadmap contributes to the publication by the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC), of which Ireland is a member, of its long-term plans towards the development of offshore wind up to 2040.
All nine NSEC member states put forward their indicative auction timelines for offshore wind auctions to 2030, including their potential construction window up to 2040.
In 2022, during Ireland’s co-presidency, ministers of all nine NSEC member states agreed to reach at least 260GW of offshore wind energy by 2050, which represents more than 85 per cent of the EU-wide ambition of reaching 300GW by 2050. Intermediate targets for NSEC include at least 76GW by 2030 and 193GW by 2040.
Ireland’s indicative roadmap sets out a number of steps towards ORESS 2.1, modelled on different scenarios, including whether a draft Designated Maritime Area Plan (DMAP), for marine waters off the south coast, is published before or after summer 2023, and whether any decision is judicially reviewed.
The indicative timeline begins in March 2024, with the potential publication of the draft South Coast DMAP and licenses for generation are expected to be awarded between February and October 2025.
Commenting on the publication, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD, says: “The success of Ireland’s first offshore wind auction earlier this year highlighted Ireland’s enormous potential in offshore wind. ORESS 2.1 will be another important milestone towards the delivery of our offshore wind ambitions and to reach our climate targets.
“Our ambitions in the area will be further supported by the publication next year of Ireland’s Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and the Future Framework for post-2030 Offshore Wind, by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.”