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For Written Answer on : 17/01/2024
Question Number(s): 66 Question Reference(s): 56482/23
Department: Environment, Climate and Communications
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for the Environment; Climate and Communications further to the order of business debate of 5 December 2023, to outline the consideration being given to the development of floating offshore wind infrastructure in phase 3 of the Climate Action Plan; when he expects details on phase 3 to be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


The Climate Action Plan 2023 commits to achieving at least 5GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030. To achieve this target and Ireland’s long-term plan to deliver 20GW by 2040 and at least 37GW by 2050, Government has adopted a phased approach to offshore renewable energy development in Ireland.

Phase One is intended to deliver the maximum competitively procured offshore wind capacity at the earliest feasible deployment stage, with the six most advanced offshore wind projects in Ireland having taken place in our first competitive offshore wind auction earlier this year, known as ORESS 1. This auction procured over 3GW of capacity across four projects on the East and West Coasts. All of these projects currently have Maritime Area Consents (MACs), provisional grid offers (Grid Connection Assessments) and are actively engaged in the pre-application process with An Bord Pleanála. Under the conditions of the MACs awarded in this phase, these projects must formally apply for planning permission by June 2024 at the latest.

Phase Two aims to procure the remainder of the 5 GW capacity target for 2030 through further competitive ORESS auctions, with all future offshore wind developments to be located within Designated Maritime Area Plans, or DMAPs. This includes establishment of an initial South Coast DMAP, which will identify a number of marine areas for development of fixed bottom offshore wind for delivery by both 2030 and post 2030. Fixed bottom offshore wind is a proven technology that has been delivered at scale in other jurisdictions and offers the best prospects for the accelerated delivery of future offshore wind, at an affordable cost to Irish electricity consumers.  

The final phase of offshore wind deployment is referred to as the Future Framework. Led by my department, the Future Framework Policy (previously the Enduring Regime) will consider the potential of floating offshore wind as a feasible technology. It will provide an evidence-based framework to support post 2030 development of Offshore Renewable Energy and for the inclusion of floating offshore wind in those plans.  

The intention is that a draft Future Framework policy will be published for consultation in January 2024, before consideration by Government and publication in March 2024, to coincide with the publication of the Industrial Strategy Roadmap by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. To provide further market confidence and to enhance inward investment, the policy will be submitted for Oireachtas approval and an international launch is planned at the Wind Europe conference in March 2024.