Friday, February 07 16:30:11
There's more than 70GW of energy for the taking in Irish Waters - over 14 times Ireland's current energy demand, according to the National Offshore Wind Association of Ireland (NOW Ireland).
The publication of an Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) by Minister Pat Rabbitte is an important milestone in the development of Ireland's offshore renewable energy resources, NOW Ireland said.
The report, which was published at a Marine Renewable Conference in Dublin, lays out a strategy for the development of Ireland's ocean energy resources. It was four years in development and involved substantial public and industry consultation.
NOW Ireland General Secretary Brian Britton said it clearly demonstrates the scale of Ireland's ocean renewable resources.
"Ireland's marine territory is nearly ten times the size of our land mass. At present, this resource is being greatly underused. Harnessing our marine resources, particularly offshore wind can create jobs and provide an important new source of revenue for the state. At present, Ireland imports E6bn euro worth of fossil fuel per year. From offshore wind resources we can generate E8bn in exports. This will be achieved at zero cost to the Irish consumer," he said.
The OREDP also stresses the importance of Ireland capitalising on the offshore energy supply chain. NOW Ireland has estimated that this could be worth as much as E60bn from offshore projects in the Irish Sea zone and that Ireland can compete for a share in this.
"Ireland is unlikely to secure turbine manufacturing plants, but the success of Belfast Port in attracting investment from the likes of Dong Energy and Siemens as well as Harland and Wolff, shows that we can compete for a multi-billion euro share of the supply chain. In particular, foundation manufacturing, professional services, surveying works and operation and maintenance centres could be based at Irish ports. These would require skill sets which are already available in Ireland. As the OREDP says and as we have been saying for a number of years, we have to prove to international investors that Ireland is open for business."