Ireland risks failing to capitalise on its wind-energy potential unless changes made in Govt strategy - MEP Kelleher

Published on: 06 March 2023

Billy Kelleher MEPFianna Fáil | Renew EuropeIreland South5th March 2023
Ireland risks failing to capitalise on its wind-energy potential unless changes made in Govt strategy - MEP Kelleher- Skills shortages, lack of deep-water ports and interconnector capacity a major challenge -
Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has said that Ireland risks failing to capitalise on its offshore wind generation potential unless the skills shortage in the country's planning and regulatory authorities, the lack of deep-water port facilities and the low interconnector capacity to other electricity markets. Kelleher, a member of the European Parliament’s Environment, Climate Action and Public Health (ENVI) Committee, made the comments following a number of meetings with stakeholders in the wind energy sector.“We hear about Ireland’s potential as a wind energy super power all the time, but there are some pretty fundamental challenges that Ireland must address before it can fully utilise its potential and meet its 2030 targets, and eventually its net zero targets in 2050. “In terms of facilitating the planning and regulatory processes, we do not have enough planners with the appropriate experience, marine biologists and engineers. In fact, the State is competing with the wind energy companies for the limited number of professionals in this area. I appreciate that a number of fora have been established to look at the skills shortage but we must find these professionals to speed up the planning process. “There is only one deep water port on the island, Belfast, capable of facilitating the construction of offshore wind turbines. More are desperately needed; otherwise, we face the very real prospect of constructing Ireland’s wind farms in France. This will increase the overall cost of producing renewable electricity and see jobs that should be in Ireland located in France. “If Ireland does start to produce excess amounts of wind generated renewable electricity , we will not be able to transport it for sale to other markets unless we urgently build additional connectors. The Celtic Connector between Ireland and France is welcome but we will need many more times the capacity to be able to sell to the European market.  “Now is the time for Minister Ryan to proceed with urgency on these matters if Ireland is to capitalise on its potential off its coasts. I don’t get a sense that his Department is focusing on these crucial and fundamental issues, and that is worrying,” concluded Kelleher.-ENDS-