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Report summarises feedback from extensive public consultation period on opportunities and challenges within Ireland’s offshore wind space

 

The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, has welcomed the publication of an independent report summarising public consultation feedback received on the draft second Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP II).

 

The draft OREDP II proposed a national-level spatial strategy to guide locations for the future development of offshore renewable energy and was the subject of an extensive, nationwide public consultation period. The public engagement took place over an eight-week period, from 24 February 2023 to 20 April 2023. Minister Ryan and the Tánaiste Micheál Martin, both participated in workshops to support the consultation. This consultation report summarises feedback from the public consultation phase.

 

The feedback received as part of the consultation on the draft OREDP II has been assessed in great detail by the Department and is being used to inform offshore renewable energy policy going forward. Information gathered as part of the OREDP II consultation process will also inform the upcoming ‘Future Framework’ policy statement.

 

Consultation report findings:

 

  1. The report provides a detailed record of feedback received on opportunities and challenges in offshore renewable energy development, criteria for selecting areas for offshore renewable energy development, attitudes to the new plan-led approach, sharing the maritime space, environmental reports, data management, governance, supporting infrastructure, skills and training, stakeholder engagement and the consultation process.
  2. Over 1,100 people took part in the nationwide consultation, including members of the public and key stakeholder groups. The engagement included six in-person workshops, ten informal outreach visits to coastal communities, five online information events, and one exhibit at a trade fair for fisheries.
  3. The feedback noted that there are many potential benefits and opportunities for Ireland in developing offshore renewable energy in terms of delivering on the Climate Action Plan, economic development and ensuring security of supply.
  4. Participants requested greater detail and certainty on the location of offshore renewable energy as part of the post-consultation version of the OREDP II, and greater alignment with relevant policies and plans (both marine and terrestrial). Significant feedback was also received on technical criteria, environmental considerations and the sharing of the maritime space.

 

Welcoming the consultation report, Minister Ryan said:

 

“I am delighted that so many people shared valuable views and insight on future offshore wind development during the public consultation period. Maximising renewable wind energy is a significant priority for this Government and I was delighted to have taken part in this consultation process, and I’ve been encouraged by the wide breadth of views received. Offshore wind offers enormous potential and benefits to the State, and not just from an environmental perspective; future offshore wind projects could offer huge economic and community benefits to many towns and villages along our coasts.

 

“I have carefully considered all of the feedback and my Department, along with other Government Departments, will continue to work closely with local communities to ensure that any developments of our offshore wind resources are managed in a planned, strategic, economical and sustainable way.”

 

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, and the results underscored the State’s ambitions within the offshore renewable wind energy space. Over 3 Gigawatts of capacity has been procured from four offshore wind projects under ORESS 1, which will deliver over 12 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 OREDP II public consultation report is available to view at gov.ie/OffshoreEnergyPlan.