Ørsted enters Irish offshore wind with 5GW ESB deal

Ørsted is due to enter Ireland’s offshore wind market after signing a deal with local utility ESB to co-develop a 5GW pipeline of projects.

Ørsted will seek to develop up to 5GW of offshore wind farms with Irish utility ESB under the terms of the deal

The Danish renewables giant and ESB plan to co-develop the pipeline on a 50:50 basis, and plan to tie the projects to electrolysis capacity to produce green hydrogen.

The pair expect to enter the first of their joint projects in Ireland's next offshore wind auction. Ireland earlier this year awarded power deals to 3.1GW of projects in its first offshore wind tender.

Ørsted is already active in Irish onshore wind, having bought a 1GW-plus pipeline from Brookfield Renewables in 2021. However, the ESB deal is its first move into Irish offshore wind.

Seven wind farm projects are included in the deal: 

800MW Sea Stacks

12km off the coast of south Dublin and north Wicklow

700MW Celtic Wind One

8km offshore to the east of Cork and the south of Waterford

800MW Celtic Wind Two

27km south of Ballycotton

800MW Helvick Head

10km southeast of Helvick Head off the Waterford coast

800MW Loch Garman

10km off the Wexford coast

400MW Moneypoint One

16km off southwest coast of Ireland

1000MW Moneypoint Two35km off southwest coast of Ireland

A spokesperson for Ørsted told Windpower Monthly that its new partner ESB already has plans for green hydrogen production at Moneypoint in Clare and Aghada in Cork, using energy from its Moneypoint and Celtic windfarms in the area. 

They added that some of the green hydrogen the pair aim to produce as part of the deal could be exported. 

"A key priority of the hydrogen projects will be to bolster security of supply in an Irish context, but export opportunities will be explored as the projects come to fruition," the spokesperson said. 

The Irish government has set a target of 7GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 as it seeks to decarbonise its energy and electricity supply. 

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s minister for enterprise, trade, and employment, said the deal represented “a strong vote of confidence in Ireland’s sustainable future and an important milestone in building a new, indigenous energy system, which is both secure, affordable and clean”.