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North sea deal welcome, but hurdles remain for renewable energy – MEP Kelly

Published: Wed, 26 April 2023

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Seán Kelly, Fine Gael MEP for Ireland South, has welcomed this week’s deal to significantly increase offshore wind energy production in the Northern seas, but warns that bureaucratic hurdles are still generally impeding the development of renewable energy supplies.

“I welcome the Ostend Declaration by nine European countries at the North Sea Summit to significantly increase offshore wind energy production in the region. The aim of producing at least 120 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 and at least 300 gigawatts by 2050 is a significant, ambitious step forward. Ireland is among the group of eight European countries aiming to quadruple wind energy generation and develop ‘islands’ linking offshore energy infrastructure”, MEP Kelly said.

“We cannot underestimate the importance of Ireland’s participation in renewable energy development in the North Sea. It will play a significant role in laying the platform for a more sustainable future economy in line with climate targets.

“It is also extremely welcome that the North Sea countries and the UK agreed to work together on developing sustainable and cost-effective offshore energy. It makes sense for Ireland and the EU to have good cooperation with the UK on energy and climate, as it is in our direct mutual interests. A prime example of this is building new interconnection and sharing some of ports and facilities where needed.

Permitting and licensing procedures remain one of the biggest hurdles

“However, permitting and licensing procedures remain one of the biggest hurdles in achieving mass deployment of renewable technologies. When it comes down to it, planning authorities need the personnel and technical capacity to get through the necessary administration as quick as possible so projects can get to their operational phase. This capacity increase should be done in tandem with updates to the regulatory framework”, he warned.

“I have made and supported proposals that would allow the granting of a priority status in national law for public interest renewable energy projects as well as a corresponding streamlining of planning and permitting procedures. For a country like Ireland, this could be vital”, MEP Kelly added.

The Irish government has set a target to build 5GW of offshore wind generation capacity by 2030 as part of its wider efforts to reduce emissions and shift away from fossil fuels, and the North Sea is considered a prime location for offshore wind energy due to its shallow waters and location.


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