Ireland Awards Contract for Strategic Environmental Assessment for New Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan

ClearLead Consulting has won a contract for the creation of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and an Appropriate Assessment (AA) for Ireland’s new Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP II).

Illustration; Arklow Bank Phase 1. Source: Alpha Marine

The company was awarded the contract following a tender launched earlier this year by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which invited qualified and experienced environmental and planning consultants to submit their proposals until 1 October.

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Under the EUR 247,766 contract, which will run for 18 months with one possible extension of up to twelve months, ClearLead Consulting 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 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, according to SEAI.

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 has now passed through all stages of the Oireachtas and is set to bring a simpler permitting process for offshore wind development.

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The MAP Bill establishes 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.