Author: Brian Carroll, head of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Division, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
The Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan(OREDP) was launched by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte in February at the Marine Renewables Industry Association’s (MRIA) 5th Ocean Energy Forum in Dublin. The OREDP sets out a vision of Ireland’s offshore renewable energy resource contributing to our economic development and sustainable growth, generating jobs for our citizens, supported by coherent policy, planning and regulation, and managed in an integrated manner.
Ireland has a landmass of around 90,000 square kilometres, but it also has a sea area around 10 times that size at 900,000 square kilometres. With one of the best offshore renewable energy (wind, wave and tidal) resources in the world, there is very significant potential in utilising these resources to generate carbon free renewable electricity.
The development of this offshore renewable resource is central to overall energy policy in Ireland. It can enable Ireland in the future to develop an export market in green energy and enhance security of supply. Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced, while growth and jobs are delivered to the economy. The OREDP is the key foundation stone in the development of offshore renewable energy in Ireland. It identifies three high level goals based on the concept of sustainable development: