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Industry leaders urge next government to fastrack offshore wind legislation

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British Irish Chamber seminar highlights lessons that can be learnt from the UK

Event hears call for programme for government to enshrine offshore wind targets into law

Energy leaders from both sides of the Irish Sea have today called on the next government to urgently fastrack the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill and also enshrine interim 2025 offshore energy targets into law, in order to greatly increase Ireland’s offshore wind energy capacity as it strives to meet its overall 2030 renewable targets.

Business leaders and experts from across the energy sector made the call at a virtual seminar hosted today by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, in association with the UK’s Department for International Trade and SSE Renewables.

The event centred on the obstacles that are currently hindering efforts to develop Ireland’s offshore wind energy potential and the innovative ways that the industry can assist policymakers in reaching Ireland’s ambition of producing 70% electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Prominent speakers from SSE Renewables, Olsen Renewables, Oriel Wind Farm and Wilton Engineering outlined a potential roadmap to increase Ireland’s offshore wind energy output over the coming decade.

In his opening remarks, Mark Varian, Chair of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Energy and Environment Committee said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic the Irish Government and Irish society generally have shown their ability to innovate and adapt. If we can use those same skills to tackle the issue of climate change, Ireland can cast off the self-styled title of a “laggard” and can use its natural resources to kick-start the economy and create new business opportunities.

“Ireland can also learn important lessons from the UK to become a leader in wind energy. A supportive regulatory framework, new planning laws and investment in modern infrastructure have all helped the UK offshore wind energy sector to thrive. There is also an important role for natural gas as a transitionary fuel, so it’s important that we get the energy mix right. These ingredients to success can best position Ireland to meet our goals in the Climate Action Plan and to take advantage of the new European Green Deal.”

Barry Kilcline, Director of Development, SSE Renewables said: “Developing Ireland’s offshore wind capacity is critical to reaching our renewable energy targets. But without legislation fast tracking offshore wind energy in the Irish Sea and beyond, we risk missing our carbon reduction goals.

“The new programme for government currently being negotiated provides a window of opportunity to remove the regulatory and infrastructure barriers that currently exist. A commitment to swifltly progress the new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill and to enshrine into law the delivery of 1GW of offshore wind by 2025, would help to unleash Ireland’s offshore wind energy potential.”

Key speakers at today’s seminar entitled “Offshore Wind Development in the Irish Sea: A discussion on the pathway forward” included:

• Mark Varian, Chair of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Energy and Environment Committee and Partner, Eversheds Sutherland

• Barry Kilcline, Director of Development, SSE Renewables

• Garrett Connell, Project Manager, Oriel Wind Farm

• Bruce Clements, Offshore Wind Specialist, Renewable Team, Department for International Trade

• Martin Finucane, Principal Officer, International and Offshore Energy, Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment

• Louise Glennon, Public Affairs Manager, SSE Renewables

• Dr. Carolyn Heeps, Head of Offshore Wind at Fred. Olsen Renewables

• Kevin O’Donovan, Managing Director, Statkraft Ireland

• Bill Scott, CEO, Wilton Engineering

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Paul Nallon, Q4PR: / +353 (0) 86-8694041

About the British Irish Chamber of Commerce

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce is a private sector trade organisation, founded in 2011 to represent businesses and employers with interests in the two islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The Chamber’s mission is to highlight, protect and grow the trade between Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. That trade is worth €1.5 billion a week or €80 billion a year and it supports 400,000 jobs, about evenly between the two islands.

About SSE Renewables

SSE Renewables is a leading developer, operator and owner of renewable energy across Ireland and the UK, with a portfolio of around 4GW of onshore wind, offshore wind and hydro. Part of the FTSE-listed SSE plc, its strategy is to drive the transition to a net-zero carbon future through the world class development, construction and operation of renewable energy assets.

SSE Renewables is the leading developer of offshore wind energy in the UK and Ireland, with 3.3GW of consented projects in UK and Irish waters. This consented pipeline includes Phase 2 of Arklow Bank Wind Park off the County Wicklow coast in the south Irish Sea which is being actively developed by SSE Renewables.

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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