Sustainable energy professor at DCU, Dr James Carton, and research assistant, Bill Duggan, carried out new research on offshore wind and how no port in the Republic of Ireland can deploy any offshore wind farms.

As mentioned in an Irish Examiner article, offshore wind provides about 3% of electricity consumption in Europe. However, this drops to 0.004% in Ireland.

April 2024 saw a record amount of power generated by wind farms here, and further growth is anticipated with the introduction of long-awaited planning legislation later this year. 

Dr Carton and Mr Duggan have recognised that: “The government has taken ‘many positive steps to clear the obstacles to a smooth implementation of offshore wind.’” 

Massive challenges

The DCU research has also noted massive challenges that have been identified, including ports. While it has been proven that ports are vital for building infrastructure by the sea, it is also vital to know how ports operate. 

The research states: “Sailing long distances, between ports or from other countries to the installation site, is an expensive and poor use of resources that will escalate the implementation costs and ultimately increase the cost of energy to the customer.”

According to Dr Carton and Mr Duggan, there are areas that “deserve consideration” such as Cork, Foynes, Cork, or Bremore. The duo believe that Ireland should not rely on other countries to solve its port shortage.

They emphasise the need for significant investment in infrastructure and expanding space for offshore wind projects as a national priority. However, they caution that this plan would be challenging to achieve due to Irish ports' current inability to access state funding.

They estimate that if most of Ireland's main offshore wind activities were conducted in its own ports, it would require around €2-3bn, with only four or five ports capable of carrying out the expansion.

The research concluded by writing: "Solutions are not easy but what is certain is that without ports in Ireland, to facilitate the ability to rollout, the offshore renewable energy projects will not happen smoothly. Ireland must deliver on its commitments and maximise the return to its people for many years to come."