Vulcan Insight

Government sets out plan for National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind

12 May 2023

On May 9, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, announced a plan to establish a national industrial strategy for offshore wind, which will be drafted in consultation with relevant Government departments, agencies and industry stakeholders. The strategy is expected to be published in Q1 2024 and will aim to ensure Ireland can capture the value of both the supply chain to deliver an offshore wind energy sector at scale as well as the routes to market for this renewable energy.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, said that “an industrial strategy will provide a clear signal to international markets that across Government, and indeed across Ireland; we are serious about this opportunity.” The announcement comes in advance of the publication of the results of ORESS 1, Ireland’s first offshore wind auction. Minister Ryan remarked that “this will provide a route to market for the first offshore wind projects, a record number of renewables, at a highly competitive price.”

The recent activity will likely be welcomed by those in the renewable energy sphere – particularly offshore wind – although they will undoubtedly be eager to see tangible policy developments to supplement these commitments. To date, Ireland’s failure to grasp the opportunities afforded by its vast coastal waters and high wind speeds has been criticised by academia and industry alike. Lecturer in Economics at University College Cork Business School, Dr Frank Crowley, touted Ireland’s unique geographical advantages, observing that “we’re well behind many other countries and we’re well behind the UK in this space, we’re well behind France, Portugal and other areas”.  

Meanwhile, Eddie O’Connor – co-founder and chairman at SuperNode Ltd – has emphasised the need to take action to seize the current opportunity. While promoting his new book, the Supergrid Super Solution, Mr O’Connor described this as “the greatest opportunity in the history of the State”, arguing that Ireland can become a global energy powerhouse, similarly to how Saudi Arabia has by exploiting its natural oil reserves. He identified “bureaucratic inertia” as inhibiting Ireland from achieving its potential. This analysis is echoed by other industry leaders, such as Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, who commented that a planning system which is unfit for purpose can prevent Ireland from achieving its climate objectives.