The first study to analyse potential economic productivity from developing the Irish offshore wind sector suggests tthousands of jobs could be created, along with significant gross value added (GVA)
The study, Economic and employment impacts of offshore wind for Ireland: A value chain analysis, by Sarah Kandrot, Val Cummins, Declan Jordan and Jimmy Murphy, all of whom are affiliated with University of Cork, published online on 13 July 2020, suggests that by 2030, 2.5-4.5 GW of Irish offshore wind development could create between 11,424 and 20,563 supply chain jobs and generate between €763M (US$873M) and €1.4BN in gross value added.
The authors of the study said the imminent development of offshore windfarms in the Republic of Ireland "presents a sizable opportunity to stimulate the Irish economy" through the growth of an indigenous and globally competitive offshore wind supply chain.
The study used a value chain analysis to evaluate the economic and employment potential of the offshore wind sector for Ireland. The analysis is based on the expenditure on products and services required to develop an offshore windfarm, the planned capacity of projects in the pipeline, and the ability of Irish companies to supply the sector.
The work was supported by the SSE Ireland, DP Energy Ireland, Simply Blue Energy, Statkraft Ireland, Engie, Enerco Energy, Brookfield Renewable Ireland, Equinor, ESB, EDP Renewables and Science Foundation Ireland.
Plans for the Irish energy sector outlined in a Programme for Government drawn up by the parties in Ireland’s new coalition government included measures for a ‘renewables revolution’ and the decarbonisation of the energy sector.
The plan includes significant investment in onshore and offshore renewables, including a Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction for offshore wind in 2021, a Marine Planning & Development Bill in nine months, 5 GW of eastern and southern offshore wind by 2030, and potential for 30 GW of floating offshore wind off Ireland’s Atlantic coast.
The document also describes a "transformational programme of research and development" to ensure Ireland is at the cutting edge of scientific and technological innovation in meeting climate change targets, including floating offshore wind and green hydrogen.
Another recent report found that offshore wind energy could create 2,500 jobs in Ireland in the next 10 years and attract more than €42Bn (US$52Bn) in lifetime investment, but windfarms in the country will likely be built from bases outside the country, losing billions of this potential investment, unless strategic investment decisions are made.
Those are among the findings of a report by the Carbon Trust for the Irish Wind Energy Association, Harnessing our Potential, which examines the offshore wind supply chain and includes a detailed examination of the suitability of ports capable of supporting offshore windfarm construction in Irish waters.
The report shows the huge potential for the sector but concludes that 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. A key reason is that developers will be forced to use ports such as Belfast, Mostyn or Barrow to construct the windfarms because no port in the Irish Republic meets all the requirements for offshore wind projects.
SSE Renewables director of capital projects Paul Cooley told the Energy Ireland ‘Offshore Energy Conference’ that the new coalition government’s ambition to deliver an increased 5 GW of offshore wind energy off Ireland’s eastern and southern coasts by the end of the decade is welcome, but this new scale must be delivered at pace and with immediate effect if targets are to be met.
Delivering 1 GW of offshore wind energy in the Irish Sea by 2025 will get Ireland on track to meet the new 5 GW target, he said. It will also contribute 2% of the Programme for Government’s annual 7% reduction in Ireland’s overall greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2030.
Mr Cooley said, “The new government’s commitment to increased offshore wind energy ambition by 2030 is welcome but if Ireland is going to deliver 5 GW of installed offshore capacity by the end of the decade, then Ireland needs to be delivering 1 GW of new offshore wind by 2025 to get us on track.
Riviera held a series of webinars on offshore wind in June. These are available to view in our webinar library