Government Urged to Work with Industry to Create Offshore Wind Jobs

Wind Energy Ireland is calling on the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD to bring together industry, key State agencies and Government departments to build an Irish renewable energy industry that would create thousands of jobs, revitalise coastal communities and sustainably grow the economy.

The call came at Wind Energy Ireland’s Annual Conference, taking place today in Dublin’s Clayton Burlington Hotel, where a new position paper, Working Together: Building Ireland’s Offshore Industry, has been published.

Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, said: “Government and industry must work together to drive strategic investment in our ports, infrastructure, skill capacity and local enterprise to ensure offshore wind farms create jobs, support businesses at home and deliver long-term benefits for communities across this island.

“With the right approach, through a concerted effort between industry, Government and coastal communities, we can build a whole new industrial sector, supporting regional development, creating thousands of jobs and driving sustainable and inclusive growth in Ireland.”

The report highlights the success of some Irish companies in already building the offshore wind supply chain including Green Rebel in Cork and Codling Wind Park off the coast of Wicklow.

Significant challenges

However, the report identifies several significant challenges to the development of Ireland’s offshore wind industry. These include a lack of port infrastructure, skills shortages and uncertainty about when projects will be able to start construction.

Working Together: Building Ireland’s Offshore Industry calls for:

  • An Offshore Renewable Industry Forum, led by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, to agree and implement an Action Plan to support the development of a domestic offshore renewable energy industry;
  • A review of the National Ports Policy to ensure that it supports the development of Irish port infrastructure to enable the construction of offshore wind farms;
  • A High-Level Implementation Group to deliver the recommendations set out in the Skills for Zero Carbon to address domestic skills shortages;
  • Significant resources for research and development around floating wind energy, the development of green hydrogen and emerging offshore renewable energy technologies.

Noel Cunniffe continued: “Only one port on the island – Belfast Harbour – is suitable to support the construction of an offshore wind farm. We urgently need investment and support for other ports to ensure they are ready for the opportunities that will come in developing offshore wind for this decade and beyond as we deliver on the huge potential of floating wind energy off our south and west coasts.

“Supply-chain issues must be addressed to ensure Irish offshore wind farms help to build our green economy in this country and to delivery a truly just transition for coastal communities.

“If we fail to act now we will still see these wind farms built, but we will have failed to maximise the opportunity for Irish workers and businesses to build wind farms off our coasts and, eventually, to compete internationally as the world turns more and more to renewable energy in the years to come.”

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