One third from Irish offshore wind

Offshore wind energy could provide one-third of the electricity demand of the island of Ireland by 2005, concludes a report into harnessing wind energy off the coasts of the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. The report was published jointly by the Department of Public Enterprise in Dublin and the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Belfast.

Assuming a water depth of up to 20 metres and a minimum distance from land of five kilometres, the practical offshore wind resource could provide 32% of the combined predicted electricity consumption of Ireland and Northern Ireland (42% of the Republic's electricity and 7% of that in Northern Ireland). This is based on 1.65 MW turbines set on a 500 metre grid spacing. Using 3 MW turbines, offshore wind could meet 57% of the island's needs. Most of the resource lies to the east and south-east coasts of Ireland.

The study, by Belfast civil, structural and marine consultants Kirk McClure Morton, was part funded under the EU INTERREG II program. Meanwhile, four consortia have already been granted licenses to test at nine wind sites off Ireland's east coast (Windpower Monthly, October 2000).