Government ‘must act now’ on investment in ports such as Rosslare Europort to support offshore wind energy projects

A significant national report produced by leading consultants GDG on behalf of Wind Energy Ireland (WEI) has highlighted the urgent requirement for Government funding for Irish ports such as Rosslare Europort to support the future delivery of the significant pipeline of offshore wind energy projects and help Ireland achieve its ambitious 2030 targets.

Commenting on the launch of the report Paul Doherty executive director of Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions (GDG) said that:

Support from the Irish Government would de-risk upfront investment and could plug any funding gaps. This support could be through direct funding from the exchequer, a low-interest loan scheme, or access to funding vehicles such as the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and the European Investment Bank.

The report states that failing to invest now could risk wind farms being built elsewhere and missing out on the incredible economic and job creation opportunity brought about by offshore wind energy projects. It states that such State investment is “common and widespread” in Europe.

Noel Cunniffe, Wind Energy Ireland CEO Noel Cunniffe said:

Without investment, Ireland will miss its target of having 70% of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030, see wind farms developed outside of Ireland and lose out on jobs. Instead of growing jobs in Wexford, Cork and Limerick, our wind farms will be creating employment in Great Britain and France.

The above map from the GDG report shows the high level of offshore wind energy projects proposed for the South East coastal region.

The WEI report also recommends that ports, the offshore renewable energy industry, and State agencies should be brought together under the Offshore Wind Delivery Task Force to identify solutions, including the possibility of designing an Irish Strategic Port Investment Model.

Paul Doherty, added:

Ports are not only central to the initial development phase of offshore wind but play a role within the local and national supply chain and in supporting national infrastructure. Yes, proper port infrastructure is critical to the development of offshore wind farm projects, and longer-term they will be a base for the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms and eventually play a vital role in the decommissioning of end-of-life turbines providing massive economic benefits for the country. Given the strategic importance of ports to fulfilling our decarbonising targets – we must act now.