Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries


The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) has welcomed feedback received from a recent public information period held with south and southeast coastal communities looking at potential offshore renewable energy developments for the region.

Last August, the Department began a nine-week public information period seeking views from coastal communities in Counties Wexford, Waterford and Cork regarding the location of future regional offshore wind developments. The Department also met with industry, community organisations, representative bodies from the fishing and seafood sector, environmental organisations, as well as business groups within each county.

The public information period followed the publication of the South Coast Designated Maritime Area Plan (DMAP) Proposal by the Department last July, which put forward an ‘initial’ proposed geographical area within which future offshore renewable wind energy developments may take place.

The initial proposed area of marine space is approximately 8,600 square kilometres in size, stretching along the coastline of counties Wexford, Waterford and Cork. The Department is continuing to review feedback from the public information period before commencing another period of engagement in 2024.

Ahead of this next engagement period, the marine area of the South Coast DMAP Proposal will be refined to identify specific areas for proposed future offshore renewable energy development, which will be included in a ‘Draft DMAP’. This includes marine areas suitable for deployment of offshore wind by 2030 and post-2030. This Draft DMAP will then undergo a six-week statutory public engagement period which is expected to take place in early 2024.


Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, said:

“I welcome the feedback we have received to date on the South Coast DMAP process, which will designate sea areas for development both by 2030 and beyond 2030. My Department will continue to work closely with local coastal communities so future developments of our offshore wind resources are managed in a planned, strategic, economical and sustainable way. The DMAP process is part of a rigorous plan-led approach adopted by Government which will offer the best way to protect our local marine environments while also boosting local community development.”

Further information is available at gov.ie/SouthCoastDMAP.

Ireland’s Offshore Wind Ambitions

The Irish Government has been accelerating policy on renewable offshore wind energy. Ireland’s first offshore wind auction, ORESS 1, took place earlier this year. The results underscored the State’s ambitions within the offshore renewable wind energy sector. The hugely-competitive price secured – at an average of €86.05/MWh (megawatt hour) – is one of the lowest prices paid by an emerging offshore wind market in the world. Over 3GW of capacity has been procured from four offshore wind projects under ORESS1, which will deliver over 12TWh (Terawatt hours) of renewable electricity per year. This is the largest volume of renewable energy Ireland has ever procured at auction. It is also enough to power over 2.5 million Irish homes with clean electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 1 million tonnes in 2030.

The National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) was adopted by the Government in May 2021 as Ireland’s first statutory maritime spatial plan. The NMPF commits the Government to the use of sub-national forward spatial planning through the establishment of Designated Maritime Area Plans (DMAPs). Provisions for the use of forward spatial planning and the establishment of DMAPs have been subsequently provided for in national legislation through the MAP Act. It is important to note that this plan-led system, with the State rather than commercial entities selecting appropriate development sites, is consistent with the approach to offshore wind development currently deployed throughout the EU. Practitioners of this plan-led approach to development site designation include the Netherlands and Denmark, which are arguably the two EU countries with the most mature offshore wind sectors. The European wind industry representative body, WindEurope has also recommended that ‘the centralised tender approach should be the primary vehicle in meeting national offshore wind targets.’

This decision to situate Ireland’s first offshore renewable energy DMAP off the south coast reflects analysis carried out by Ireland’s transmission system operator, EirGrid, that in the first instance, there will be sufficient available grid capacity in 2030 to connect 900MW of offshore wind capacity to the onshore transmission system along the south coast. The establishment of a South Coast DMAP will provide both for this initial development and subsequent offshore wind development post-2030.

Future Framework for Offshore Wind

The long-term model and vision for offshore renewable energy in Ireland is called the Future Framework. This policy will be published in early 2024 and will set out a framework for the delivery of 37GW of offshore wind by 2050. This vision for achieving our renewable energy goals is shared across Government and the regulatory framework that will be put in place will ensure that the economic, environmental and societal benefits are realised for all our citizens and stakeholders, now and into the future.

A draft Future Framework policy for post-2030 deployment of offshore wind will be published for consultation in January 2024. A final version will be approved by Government and co-published with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind in March 2024.

Schedule of offshore wind deployment to 2040

In November 2023, as part of a co-ordinated launch with member countries of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC), Ireland published a schedule of offshore wind auctions to 2030, totalling over 13GW of capacity to be deployed by 2040. This is in addition to the 3GW awarded in Ireland’s first offshore wind auction, ORESS 1, and exclusive to the maritime basins within the NSEC area (the Irish and Celtic Seas). Ireland’s total offshore wind target for 2040 (including the Atlantic basin) remains 20GW.

National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind:

The development of a National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind was approved by a Government decision in May 2023. The overarching objective of the strategy will be to ensure that Ireland maximises the economic benefits associated with Government targets to deliver 37GW of offshore wind by 2050. A Strategic Roadmap will be published in the first half of 2024 to coincide with the publication of the Future Framework. The first strategic roadmap will focus on supply chains and Ireland’s research, development and innovation ecosystem.

Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce

DECC chairs the Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce, which is coordinating the full range of activities required to maximise the economic benefits of offshore wind development to the State. This includes a dedicated workstream for skills and workforce requirements, which is co-owned by DECC and The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS). The workstream involves close engagement with industry, through Wind Energy Ireland and Green Tech Skillnet. The main goal of this workstream is to support the development of offshore wind through the establishment of a sustainable workforce and skills pipeline. In Budget 2024, DFHERIS secured €200,000 for the development of skills for our offshore wind resource.

Community Benefit Funds

The establishment of Community Benefit Funds (CBF) ensure that local regions and communities will share in the collective benefit of hosting renewable energy developments. DECC developed the CBF in close collaboration with communities, fund administrators, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the North Seas Energy Co-operation and the international offshore wind industry. The development process included two public consultations, leading to a highly robust scheme which empowers community decision-making and ensures that Irish communities benefit from one of the highest renewable energy revenue sharing models in the world.

Mandatory CBF payments valued at €2 per MW hour of generation will be made within the first year of construction of an offshore wind project, continuing through the construction phase and for the support period of the project, approximately 20 years. For the typical 1GW project, the value will amount to approximately €8 million per annum. Each project must appoint a professional Fund Administrator to maximise the opportunities of the fund for the local community (to include those in the fishing industry, seafood culture, tourism and maritime heritage).  The scale of the CBFs provide a valuable opportunity for local communities to use them for substantive and meaningful initiatives. The local CBF Committee makes all the funding decisions and can undertake planned, multi-year projects.