The state is unlikely to meet its offshore wind energy target in 2030 unless urgent action is taken in the next 12 months to allow for more wind farms to be built.
This is according to data from Wind Energy Ireland, which has said the government is running out of time to hit its milestone of at least 5,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind off the east and south coasts.
The commitment contained in the program for the government can only be successful if between seven and ten wind farms are in operation by 2013. However, lobby group chairman Noel Cunniffe said that such a goal may not be surpassed for the next nine years.
“To deliver the offshore wind energy we need to decarbonise Ireland’s electricity supply, we need a robust ship planning system, a much stronger power grid and a set date for the first offshore renewable electricity auction,” he said.
Mr Cunniffe said while there is a strong pipeline of more than 20,000 MW offshore wind power in various stages of development, time is running out for construction of projects.
“The next 12 months will be absolutely critical for offshore wind and our 2030 renewable energy goals. We need to see our government, politicians, ministries and government agencies increase the pace, ”he said.
Wind Energy Ireland, which is holding its annual offshore wind energy conference in Naas on Tuesday, has made seven recommendations that it believes must be implemented if the 2030 target is to be achieved.
This includes the adoption of the Sea Area Planning Act and the setting of a fixed date for the first offshore wind energy auction.
“We must acknowledge that in the past 18 months our government has had to cope with an unprecedented health crisis and coordinate our response to a global pandemic,” said Cunniffe.
“But that doesn’t change the reality that even with accelerated progress, time is running out quickly and we are seeing a loss of confidence across the international supply chain that Ireland will enact key policies and laws to meet its 2030 targets. ”