Achieving Ireland’s 2050 offshore wind energy targets could be worth at least €38bn to the Irish economy, according to a report unveiled at Wind Energy Ireland’s annual conference in Dublin. The research highlights the need for a targeted skills development fund to ensure Irish workers and businesses reap the benefit from this enormous investment. 

More than 700 delegates are attending the annual conference, which takes place between January 30-31 in the Clayton Burlington hotel, and comes just weeks after the wind industry’s best ever year for generating electricity. Now the sector is identifying the country’s future skills and talent needs for offshore wind.

'The Building our Potential: Ireland’s Offshore Wind Skills and Talent Needs' report, produced for Green Tech Skillnet and Wind Energy Ireland by BVG Associates, is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the opportunities for Irish businesses to be part of delivering the target of 37GW of offshore wind energy by 2050. But significant investment in training and skills development will be needed to maximise the economic benefit to Ireland from the development of offshore wind farms.

Industry will need far more workers

While there is already a growing number of Irish companies involved in offshore wind energy, including some competing internationally, the industry will need far more workers if it is to achieve the targets set by government.

The report identifies numerous parallel industries, such as marine and engineering, where workers have skills transferable to wind energy development. This suggests targeted investment in upskilling and retraining could yield significant employment opportunities.

Collaboration between government and industry will be key to ensuring that the billions of euro to be invested in building a new generation of offshore wind farms stays in Ireland.

Higher education minister Simon Harris said: “Developing green skills and green jobs has become a top priority of mine and my department.

"The development of our offshore wind resources is a key objective for government. Not only will it help us reduce our carbon emissions, but it will bring greater energy security and reduce costs for consumers.

“This report clearly demonstrates the significant economic and social benefits to communities across Ireland, particularly in the shape of new job opportunities.

“This will shape my department’s work and ambition with stakeholders across government, the public sector, the tertiary education sector, and industry, as we look to build the skills we need to deliver a greener more sustainable future."

'Not just about cutting carbon emissions'

Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, said: “Offshore wind energy is not just about cutting carbon emissions and providing cheaper power. It is Ireland’s future economic strategy. Every offshore wind farm means new investment, high quality green jobs and greater energy security.

“This report identifies, in granular detail, the skills we need over the next two decades to transform our workforce to build not just Ireland’s offshore wind energy future but to compete internationally.

“If government and industry can work together to identify and invest in the right training initiatives, coordinate the work already under way in education and training boards and third level institutions, and support Irish SMEs looking to get into the sector, then there is no limit to what we are capable of.”


The report sets out several key recommendations to enable the government to harness the full potential of Ireland’s offshore wind industry. These include:

  1. Establishing a skills development fund for targeted investment in private-public training partnerships and third-level investment. This investment must be guided by industry expertise to ensure that the skills outputs match sectoral demands.
  2. Attracting workers, particularly Irish nationals, from abroad to plug short-term skills shortages through initiatives such as relocation grants.
  3. Ensuring offshore specialisms are covered in public education and private training providers to equip future workers with the necessary skillsets to participate in the offshore wind industry.
  • Building expert knowledge in transmission systems to address the severe skills shortage in electrical system expertise (HV and HVDC), both domestically and internationally.

Paul Healy, Skillnet Ireland, CEO, said: “The Building our Potential: Ireland’s Offshore Wind Skills and Talent Needs report gives an insight into the unique opportunity that offshore energy presents and reiterates that a skilled pipeline of talent for this sector is of paramount importance. 

“With programmes spanning wind, solar, and hydrogen, the Green Tech Skillnet supports the optimisation of renewables on the Irish grid and has successfully engaged over 3,000 trainees in the sector since 2021. On foot of this report, we look forward to continuing our collaborations with Green Tech Skillnet and making sure that Ireland has a future-ready workforce to further build our competitive edge in this sector.”

Leo Bertels, managing consultant, BVG Associates, said: “Ireland’s ambitious targets for offshore wind deployment represent a huge opportunity for the nation’s economy, energy system and workforce.”

The report maps out job opportunities presented by each phase of project delivery, identifying the top 42 roles which are expected to be of most relevance for Ireland. These include roles in early-stage development and project management activities, as well as certain elements of the operations, maintenance and service activity, particularly in new floating wind technologies.

Cunniffe concluded: “Our offshore wind industry is a huge economic opportunity for Ireland. By investing in the right training programmes, and taking a proactive approach to skills development, we can cut our carbon emissions, cut electricity bills and create jobs.”