Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Belfast the Only Port Ready for Offshore Wind Construction, Report Says

21st September 2022
National Ports Study - It claims to be the most detailed analysis ever conducted on the readiness of Irish ports for the development of offshore renewable energy

Belfast is the only port on the island of Ireland which is ready to construct offshore wind farms, according to a new study published by Wind Energy Ireland.

The national ports study published at the body’s annual offshore wind energy conference in Dublin today was produced by Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions.

It claims to be the most detailed analysis ever conducted on the readiness of Irish ports for the development of offshore renewable energy.

The report includes a thorough analysis of the existing infrastructure available at 13 ports and harbours on the island of Ireland and their plans for expansion to meet the needs of offshore wind.

The ports and harbours examined in the report were, in alphabetical order: Belfast D1, Belfast Harland & Wolff, Bremore, Cork Dockyard, Foynes Island, Galway, Killybegs, Larne, Moneypoint, Port of Cork (Ringaskiddy), Ros an Mhíl, Rosslare Europort and Shannon-Foynes.

“We want to build Irish offshore wind farms in Irish ports,” Wind Energy Ireland chief executive Noel Cunniffe said.

Wind Energy Ireland chief executive Noel Cunniffe Photo: Joan ShannonWind Energy Ireland chief executive Noel Cunniffe Photo: Joan Shannon

“Our members – both ports and developers – are absolutely united on this. That is the best way to create jobs at home and to deliver offshore wind energy at the lowest possible price,” he said.

“But we cannot build 7 GW of offshore wind energy by the end of 2030 if we only have a single port on the island suitable for building offshore wind farms,” Cunniffe added.

“We need to be able to build more than one offshore wind project at the same time if we are to have any chance to deliver the carbon emissions cuts that the Government wants and that climate action requires,” he said.

“We know Minister Eamon Ryan is taking this seriously,” Cunniffe said.

“Last year’s Government policy statement on offshore wind and commercial ports, combined with the new Offshore Wind Delivery Task Force, show an increased focus on delivery from the Department of Transport, the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) and other State agencies,” he said.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon RyanMinister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan

“But with only eight years to deliver 7 GW of offshore wind energy, there is growing concern throughout industry that projects may have to be built from outside of Ireland or will need to wait for availability in Belfast,” he said.

The report recommends:

Funding: Support from the Irish Government would help de-risk the level of upfront investment and plug any funding gaps. This could be in the form of direct funding from the exchequer, a low-interest loan scheme or access to funding vehicles such as the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and the European Investment Bank.

Clarity: Huge uncertainty remains about when offshore wind farm construction will start as developers seek clarity on the emerging offshore planning system and next year’s offshore renewable auction. Clarity on timescales would help developers and give confidence to investors looking at the detailed infrastructure plans brought forward by ports.

Planning: There is a risk that ports will struggle to get a foreshore survey licence on time or may spend years in the planning system. Wind Energy Ireland has previously highlighted the need for the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to instruct An Bord Pleanála to prioritise planning applications related to renewable energy, including port infrastructure, to give the country the best chance of hitting our 2030 target.

“Our ports have the ambition, the determination and the imagination to provide first-class infrastructure for the construction of offshore renewable energy projects,” principal officer and lead author Sarah Gibson said.

“Ports like Rosslare, Cork Dockyard and Shannon-Foynes have already put in substantial work getting ready for offshore wind,” she said.

“Ports and developers both want this to happen. Ireland can be a base from which to build a generation of fixed-bottom and floating wind energy projects, creating thousands of jobs and ensuring that investment stays in Ireland,” she noted.

“But it won’t just happen by itself. It will need Government, ports and renewable energy developers working together to make this ambition a reality,” she said.

The report was co-funded by a number of Wind Energy Ireland members: Belfast Harbour, DP Energy, ESB, Inis Offshore Wind, Ocean Winds, Ørsted, Source Energie and RWE.

The report can be accessed here.

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

Email The Author

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating