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Policy Shift Causes Developers to Hit the Brakes on Irish Offshore Wind Projects

Bloomberg
Total Views: 5602
March 24, 2023

By Peter O’Dwyer (Bloomberg) —

Developers have started to pause large investments in Irish offshore wind parks after the government introduced tougher rules on where they can be built. 

Barry Kilcline, Ireland head of offshore at SSE Renewables, said he was aware of “at least two” significant investment decisions that had been abandoned as a result of the policy change, although he declined to say who the firms were. His company also spent “several millions” of euros on plans for a wind farm off the coast of Louth on Ireland’s eastern seaboard which is now in doubt. 

The new rules threaten the nation’s target of building as much as 7 gigawatts of offshore wind by the end of the decade, Those parks are considered crucial if Ireland is to achieve its wider goal of getting 80% of its power from renewables by the end of the decade, as well as delivering a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the period.

Climate Minister Eamon Ryan earlier this month said the government’s approach would “guide investment and decision-making” and complement a forthcoming network of Marine Protected Areas. Many in the industry disagree, however, warning that the policy change threatens investment in the sector.

There are over 30 gigawatts of offshore wind projects currently in development, but only 4.4 gigawatts will be able to bid into the first Irish auction which opens next month. Investors are concerned that much of the remaining capacity could become unviable. 

Wind Energy Ireland, the representative body, said in a note to members that it was aware of companies that had started to redeploy staff to projects outside of Ireland since the change in policy.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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