Published: Wed, 16 February 2022
Sean Kelly MEP has today (Tuesday), called for the Irish government to take a closer look at fast-tracking offshore wind projects, and in particular floating technology projects. Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where MEPs voted overwhelming in support of a European strategy for offshore renewable energy report (518 votes in favor, 88 against, 85 abstentions), Mr Kelly drew attention to Ireland’s current vulnerability and how the country has the potential to become a net energy exporter.
“Ireland’s maritime area is seven times its landmass and both the east and west coasts offer significant opportunities for fixed and floating offshore wind turbines”, said Kelly.
“Ireland has the potentiality to be a major exporter of clean renewable electricity to the rest of Europe and I welcome that the government has set out the ambition of developing 30 gigawatts or more of floating offshore wind power in the Atlantic. This would provide a significant economic boost for the South West of the country, particularly in Kerry, Cork and Clare. The availability of clean energy could make the region a focal point for Industry, especially when you consider the potential of producing green hydrogen. It could revitalise the local economy”, he added.
“However, our current planning system is not fit for purpose and is hampering our ability to deploy renewable energy at a scale in line with our 2030 ambition. There is no value to citizens in having clean technologies available if we cannot get them deployed. That is why I am proposing a “Fit for 55” label on public interest renewable projects that will allow the granting of a priority status in national law, to ensure a prioritisation of these projects and streamline procedures and processes”, Kelly outlined.
The introduction of the label would require Member States to detail how they will adapt their permit system to ensure they meet commitments under their National Energy and Climate Plans. Reporting would be based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), including how to Planning authorities are resourced.
“Supporting renewable energy must be a cornerstone of our economic recovery in the post-Covid years. These are future-proof investments that will help to transform Ireland’s economy into one that is sustainable and carbon-neutral, while creating jobs and value in our rural communities; an opportunity that cannot be missed”, Kelly concluded.