(OW) ESB and Ørsted have signed an agreement to jointly develop a portfolio of up to 5 GW of offshore wind and complementary green hydrogen projects in Ireland, with the first of these offshore wind projects expected to compete in the next Irish auction, ORESS 2.1. The agreement also marks Ørsted’s entry into the Irish offshore wind market.
According to the companies, this is the most ambitious partnership in Ireland to date and aims to help deliver on the Irish government’s 2030 target of installing 7 GW of offshore wind.
The Irish energy and utility company ESB has over 5 GW of offshore wind capacity in development around the coast of Ireland across five projects: Sea Stacks Offshore Wind, Helvick Offshore Wind, LochGarman Offshore Wind, Moneypoint Offshore Wind, and Celtic Offshore Wind.
These projects were previously developed within ESB’s partnership with Equinor, which the Norwegian company decided to exit in 2021.
“In recent years, ESB has amassed considerable expertise in offshore wind, partnering with leading energy companies in projects of scale and building a significant offshore footprint across Ireland and Great Britain”, Jim Dollard, ESB Executive Director, Generation & Trading, said.
“ESB is developing a large renewables pipeline, and as part of that has developed a strong portfolio of offshore wind projects around the coasts of Ireland”.
ESB’s new 50/50 partnership with Ørsted is focused on offshore wind but it also encompasses an agreement to explore opportunities from renewable hydrogen produced from the offshore wind projects in the longer term.
For Ørsted, the agreement marks the company’s entry into Ireland’s offshore wind market.
“With a strong Irish onshore portfolio already in place, we are delighted to begin our journey in the Irish offshore market with ESB; the company that brought electricity to Ireland, and that today plays a leading role in the path to net-zero”, said Duncan Clark, Senior Vice President and Head of UK and Ireland at Ørsted.
“This partnership combines complementary strengths relevant to development in this market and creates an ideal platform for Ørsted to bring its global expertise in the delivery of offshore wind to bear in Ireland”.
The partnership agreement was launched on 2 June in Cork Chamber’s Fitzgerald House by Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Simon Coveney TD, ESB’s Jim Dollard, and Duncan Clark, Head of UK and Ireland at Ørsted.
Ireland has just recently completed its first-ever offshore wind auction under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 1), with 3.1 GW of capacity awarded across four projects.
The first auction was organised for the so-called Phase One projects, which the Irish government fast-tracked and which were granted Maritime Area Consents (MACs) at the end of 2022.
The Irish Phase Two projects are those that are set to be procured next, with the first auction round to take place for Phase Two offshore wind farms expected to be launched by the end of this year.
With the projects from the second phase, the Irish government plans to select further capacity needed to reach the 5 GW target of offshore wind generation capacity by 2030. Ireland’s Offshore Energy Programme includes a target to deliver 5 GW of offshore wind and a further 2 GW of floating wind to be in development by the end of this decade.
In March, the government gave the green light to a new framework and policy developed by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) for Phase Two projects. The Phase Two Policy Statement, published on 10 March, also comprises proposals for the long-term development of offshore wind after 2030.
Ireland’s total target for offshore wind rises to at least 37 GW by 2050.
Last month, Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, announced plans to develop a National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind which will set out how Ireland can maximise the economic opportunity arising from the production of offshore wind energy.