Ireland’s renewable energy ambitions have been given a twin boost by the ESB forming a partnership with Norwegian energy company Equinor to develop offshore windfarms and Greencoat Renewables raising extra funds to build more onshore windfarms.
The Government is targeting 70% of the country’s electricity generation coming from renewable energy sources — such as wind farms — by 2030. As part of that plan, it wants at least 3.5 gigawatts of offshore wind generating power in place within the next 10 years.
The ESB and Equinor are looking to bring a number of large-scale wind projects to commercial operation by 2030 and will examine the potential for energy storage technology to complement these wind farms.
Earlier this year, the ESB said that it was working to develop a pipeline of projects that would enable it to generate at least 40% of its electricity from renewable, or zero-carbon sources by 2030.
It said at the time that storage, solar, onshore and offshore wind, waste energy, biomass and gas-fired plants were all included in its plans.
The ESB spent around €250m on renewable energy projects last year including starting development on two onshore windfarms here. In January, it said it would co-develop two planned offshore windfarms in the Irish Sea in conjunction with Belgian firm Parkwind.
Currently, the Arklow Bank windfarm, located off the Wicklow coast, is Ireland’s sole functioning offshore windfarm project. The ESB also remains in talks over a renewable energy joint-venture with State-owned forestry company Coillte.
Greencoat Renewables is to raise around €100m, in a share issuance, to facilitate the purchase of more onshore windfarms in Ireland and continental Europe. The funding will boost its spend capacity to around €560m.
Earlier this week, Greencoat bought the Killala Community windfarm in Mayo for more than €37m.