Ireland Opens Tender for Strategic Environmental Assessment for New Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has launched a tender for the creation of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and an Appropriate Assessment (AA) for the country’s new Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP II).

SEAI has invited qualified and experienced environmental and planning consultants to submit their proposals until 1 October.

Under a contract valued at EUR 250,000 and running for up to 30 months, the tender winner(s) will carry out an appropriately scaled Strategic Environmental Assessment of the OREDP II, screening for the Plan’s Appropriate Assessment and, subject to the outcome of the screening, an Appropriate Assessment of the OREDP II.

The contract will be awarded for 18 months with one possible extension of up to twelve months.

The Strategic Environmental Assessment and the Appropriate Assessment of the OREDP II will help appropriately shape and develop the Plan, and ensure that the sector can develop sustainably while minimising any impact on the environment, SEAI states.

The OREDP II is expected to inform the identification and designation of candidate areas for future offshore renewable energy development under the regime established by the Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Bill, which was officially published on 16 August, following the approval by the Cabinet on 29 June and confirmation by Ireland’s Prime Minister on 1 July.

Back in April, the Irish government said that MAP Bill would remove the existing regulative and administrative challenges and allow for faster realisation of offshore wind projects.

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Under the existing regulatory regime, the application processes for development and State property consent were complex, with various issues arising from the lease and licensing processes.

The bill will establish in law a new marine planning system, which is underpinned by a statutory Marine Planning Policy Statement, guided by the National Marine Planning Framework, launched on 1 July.

It replaces the existing foreshore consenting and provides for a completely new State consent regime for the entire maritime area, integrating development consenting into the planning permission system.

The OREDP, accommodated by the MAP Bill, establishes a framework for the sustainable development of Ireland’s offshore renewable energy projects.

Photo: CorPower Ocean; Illustration