Chair of the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade and Employment Committee, Maurice Quinlivan TD, has called on the government to ramp up investment and planning reforms to harness Ireland’s offshore wind potential, deliver energy security, reduce bills, create employment and meet climate targets.
The Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City will lead a delegation from the Enterprise and Trade and Employment Committee on a visit to Belfast Harbour tomorrow.
The visit is timely as it follows today’s report from Wind Energy Ireland, which found that of 13 major ports across Ireland, Belfast Harbour is currently the only one ready for the construction of offshore wind farms.
Teachta Quinlivan said:
“Our island has one of the best offshore wind resources in the world.
“Unfortunately, decades of inaction from successive governments has suffocated the development of this vital natural resource.
“The climate crisis, our energy security concerns and the skyrocketing cost of light and heat, all reinforce the need to accelerate the delivery of our offshore wind potential.
“Resourcing An Bord Pleanála, and all agencies involved, to deliver robust, thorough and quality procedures, will be vital to delivering planning decisions in a timely manner.
“Ahead of the Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s visit to Belfast Harbour tomorrow, a new report from Wind Energy Ireland has found that Belfast is the only one out of 13 major ports across Ireland that is ready for the construction of offshore wind farms.
“If Irish ports are not capable of facilitating the construction of wind farms, we will lose out to British ports on the local jobs and the significant supply chain business expected from the multi-billion-euro investments in this area.
“Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget will include funding for additional staffing and resources for the planning process to help reduce planning times for these projects.
“We would also provide money for ports to allow them to make the initial improvements necessary to ensure wind farms can be constructed and maintained from our island.
“Our huge offshore wind potential also affords us the opportunity to become a leader in green hydrogen production, by harnessing just a portion of this wind energy to produce green hydrogen here.
“This could be used domestically to reduce our carbon emissions, or be sold to the international markets as energy, raising revenue for investment in public services here.
“With a long-term potential of 70GW of ocean energy opportunity (wind, wave and tidal) within 100km of the Irish coastline, it is vital this valuable natural resource is developed for the benefit of both our climate and our citizens.”