Policy Forum for Ireland

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Next steps for offshore renewable energy in Ireland

Morning, Friday, 8th March 2024


This conference will discuss the future for the offshore renewable energy (ORE) sector in Ireland.


Delegates will assess next steps for maximising growth and potential in the development of offshore wind energy following the recent ORESS 1 Offshore Auction, resulting in contracts with a combined capacity of 3.1 GW for four offshore wind projects.


It will also be an opportunity to discuss priorities for the sector, with a focus on potential barriers to growth, looking at the planning system, growing investor confidence, and transitioning to the new maritime consenting regime.


Discussion will consider how to maximise the economic potential of offshore wind energy development, including how Ireland can become a net exporter of clean renewable energy, and priorities for developing a National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind to stimulate sector growth. 


With publication of the DECC’s Climate Action Plan 2024 in December 2023, and the Irish Government committing to increase the share of renewable electricity up to 80% by 2030, delegates will explore how the development of the ORE sector can contribute to the meeting of climate targets.


We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Conor McCabe, Principal Officer, International and Offshore Energy, Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications; and Laura Brien, Chief Executive Officer, MARA.


Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • Policy: next steps for development of ORESS 1 projects - priorities for future offshore wind auctions - assessing what sector growth means for the Energy Security in Ireland to 2030 strategy
  • Enabling development of ORE: priorities for the planning system - stimulating investor confidence - implementing the new maritime consenting regime 
  • Infrastructure:
    • next steps for funding and finance - what is needed to grow port infrastructure and to adapt to future needs - addressing concerns for energy storage
    • reviewing the National Ports Policy - implementing findings laid out in the Irish Ports Capacity Study
  • Capitalising on Ireland’s potential: developing an Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind - options for becoming a net energy exporter - contribution to the energy mix - ensuring projects equate to local community development 
  • Supply chain: developing a robust and sustainable supply chain for offshore projects - addressing rising costs for materials - logistics challenges for equipment transportation and installation
  • Skills and training: establishing effective programmes and initiatives - collaboration between industry and educational institutions to plug knowledge gaps and adequately staff projects 
  • Environmental issues: protecting maritime biodiversity and nature - balancing priorities and ensuring ORE development does not hinder environmental protection strategies - developing a fair and effective consenting process

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from the DAERA, NI; DAFM; DECC; Department for the Economy, NI; Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery & Reform; DfE, UK; DfI, NI; DoE; DoE, NI; FCDO, UK; the Welsh Government - and pass-holders from both Houses of the Oireachtas.



Keynote Speakers

Laura Brien

Chief Executive Officer, Maritime Area Regulatory Authority

Conor McCabe

Principal Officer, International and Offshore Energy, Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications

Keynote Speakers

Laura Brien

Chief Executive Officer, Maritime Area Regulatory Authority

Conor McCabe

Principal Officer, International and Offshore Energy, Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications

Chairs

Richard Bruton TD

Member, Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment; and Fine Gael Spokesperson for the Environment, Climate and Communications

Senator Róisín Garvey

Green Party Spokesperson for Rural Development and Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Speakers

Dr Donal Griffin

Campaign Coordinator, Fair Seas

Bobby Smith

Head, Energy Storage Ireland

Daniel Fearnley

Director of Business Development Energy & Renewables, Harland and Wolff

Kevin Lynch

Chief Executive Officer, Source Galileo

Conor Blennerhassett

Partner, Projects and Infrastructure, Matheson

Mark Ruane

Network Manager, Green Tech Skillnet