Enterprise minister Simon Coveney has launched ‘Powering Prosperity – Ireland’s Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy’, the first strategy of its kind for Ireland.

The strategy’s vision is to build a successful, vibrant, and impactful new offshore wind energy (OWE) sector by the end of this decade, and to ensure that sector creates significant value and up to 5,000 jobs in OWE and related industries for the people of Ireland.

Its overarching objective is to maximise the industrial development opportunity arising from OWE production in Ireland, to create clean, green, renewable industries of the future.

The strategy has 40 actions for implementation in 2024 and 2025 and was developed in collaboration with other government departments and agencies. It is anchored on four core pillars. 

Four core pillars

  1. Offshore wind supply chains: to build capacity and capability to develop the offshore wind farms that deliver on the 37GW target and give Ireland an edge in exporting products and services related to offshore wind energy (OWE);
  2. Research, development, and innovation: to give Ireland a competitive cutting edge in new technology and know-how for the sector;
  3. Balanced regional economic development opportunities: to drive growth from OWE in line with the Programme for Government priority of enabling all parts of Ireland to thrive so that Ireland as a whole can prosper; and
  4. Future demand and end uses for offshore renewable energy: eg to develop new green energy industrial parks, which can attract major foreign direct investment, establish new indigenous green businesses and serve as test beds for green technological innovation to power the Irish economy of the future.

The minister underlined the ambitious nature of the strategy, and said: “Ireland’s marine territory is approximately 10 times the size of its land area, with some 450,000 sq km of this territory falling into our Exclusive Economic Zone, and Powering Prosperity will harness the economic potential that this represents. Ireland can make a real impact in the offshore renewable energy space – and there is a particular opportunity to establish Ireland as a world leader in floating offshore wind energy.

“The strategy presents an exciting vision for the future, with ambitious and concrete policy proposals. We will focus initially on tangible actions to be delivered in the immediate term, 2024 and 2025. We aim to make substantial progress on building capacity and capability in the offshore wind energy supply chain in Ireland and raising the international profile of our companies in that sector.

"We will open the door for the establishment of Green Energy Industrial Parks in Ireland’s regions. We will explore the potential for a floating offshore wind demonstrator site in Irish waters to assess the vast offshore renewable energy potential of the deep waters which make up most of our Exclusive Economic Zone.”

Global leader for installed onshore wind power capacity

Environment minister Eamon Ryan said: “Ireland is already a global leader for installed onshore wind power capacity and for the integration of variable renewable electricity onto the grid.

"Powering Prosperity sets out how we can also become industry leaders in the deployment of offshore wind. It comes on the back of a number of significant steps taken already, our first Maritime Area Plans, our first successful offshore wind auction, and the establishment of the Maritime Area Regularity Authority.

"Over the next month, we will publish our first Draft Designated Maritime Area Plan (DMAP) for our South Coast and the Future Framework for Offshore Renewable Energy Policy Statement. This maps out how Ireland can create a flagship offshore renewable energy sector to achieve our climate and energy targets beyond 2030, while also bolstering the security and prosperity of the state.

‘‘Developing an offshore wind sector requires a whole-of-economy mobilisation, and this strategy sends a clear signal to international markets that Ireland is committed to maximising the benefits of our offshore wind resources.

"Crucially, the strategy identifies measures to build a capable and resilient supply chain and ensure that our strong research, development, and innovation ecosystem extends to the offshore wind sector. This will ensure that Ireland achieves the greatest economic impact possible arising from the routes to market for our abundant renewable energy, as well as assessing opportunities for strategic spatial development in our coastal areas and around our ports.’’

The Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy sets out a pathway to 2030 for Ireland to deliver on the vision of building a successful offshore wind energy sector and creating jobs for the people of Ireland and the objective of maximising the industrial development opportunity from offshore wind energy production in Ireland. It was developed following extensive stakeholder consultations across government and with industry.

The strategy was developed in parallel with and complements the roadmap set out in the Future Framework for Offshore Renewable Energy Policy Statement from the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, we well as implementation of the Climate Action Plan 2024, which was approved by Government in late 2023, subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment.

It is part of a suite of policies ongoing across Government to ensure offshore renewable energy projects are delivered in line with the target to deliver at least 37GW of ORE capacity in Ireland by 2050.

In conclusion, minister Coveney added: Electricity demand in Ireland is expected to double by 2050. While offshore renewable energy is a nascent industry in Ireland, the potential benefits are multifaceted and cannot be overstated. Offshore renewable energy, particularly offshore wind, will add another layer to our economic future, provide energy security in uncertain times and drive the charge towards decarbonisation and ending our reliance on fossil fuels.”