Ireland Needs Port Upgrades to Cash In On Offshore Wind (Report)

Ireland stands to lose billions due to offshore wind projects being built from bases outside the country unless strategic investments are made in improving port infrastructure, according to a report by the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA).

The Harnessing our Potential report states that offshore wind could create 2,500 jobs over the next ten years and attract over EUR 42 billion in lifetime investment, but Irish firms would be able to attract, at most, just over a fifth of this investment unless steps are taken to grow the local supply chain.

The key reason is that developers will be forced to use ports like Belfast, Mostyn or Barrow to construct wind farms because no Irish port meets all the requirements to serve the project construction.

Developing 3.5 GW of new offshore wind necessary to achieve the Climate Action Plan’s 2030 target also creates new opportunities for smaller ports as O&M bases, the report writes.

One of the recommendations is that strategic investment is directed urgently into one or more local ports on the east coast to develop offshore wind farms, including providing O&M support.

Additionally, the Government is advised to bring together industry, ports and communities to develop enterprise hubs to attract international investors and link them to Irish suppliers.

The report also suggests that educational institutions should be brought together to eliminate the skills gap and ensure that domestic workers can compete for the 2,500 construction and 700 permanent jobs.

“Ireland has set a target of delivering 3.5 GW of offshore wind which presents a significant challenge given we are going from almost a standing start. Key to meeting that target will be building an indigenous and economically sustainable supply chain that makes a substantial contribution to the Irish exchequer and lowers the cost of electricity to the consumer,” said Peter Lefroy, Chairperson of IWEA’s offshore committee.

“Offshore wind globally is rapidly expanding as the technology improves and costs fall. Establishing an Irish supply chain will be critical to ensure Ireland fully captures that opportunity and can compete on a global market. This not only relates to physical infrastructure but also to the workforce, skills and training required to service the industry in the long term.”

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