Dublin Array inches forward

Irish offshore wind developers wait for regulatory solution

Another round of public consultation for a 520MW offshore wind farm off Dublin has begun. However, there is little sign that the Irish government has resolved issues standing in the way of its construction, Windpower Offshore understands.

The Dublin Array project has been in development since the late 1990s. It is planned for a site about 10km east of Dublin and the Wicklow coast, with the rights held by Irish developer, Saorgus Energy. Two applications are being considered by the Irish environment ministry, but information is lacking as to when a decision is likely to be announced.

Despite boasting shallow water sites in the Irish Sea, the Republic of Ireland has installed just 25MW of offshore capacity, at Arklow Bank. Last year, the government confirmed that it would not introduce an offshore-specific incentive, not least because the country does not require additional generation capacity. Instead, the government has been working on a deal with the UK, that might eventually see Irish offshore wind farms supplying the UK grid.

A memorandum of understanding was signed last year, setting the stage for wind energy exports from Ireland to the UK. But its impact thus far appears to have been mainly to improve the business case for new Irish onshore wind capacity.

Certainly, the UK is far from achieving its legally-binding 2020 target of 15% renewable energy consumption. It was recently identified by Eurostat as one of the poorest performers amongst the EU's 27 member states.

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