The developer of a huge offshore wind farm project in the Irish Sea, which will be required if the Government is to meet its 2030 climate emissions targets, has pledged that its nationalisation by the French state won't affect its key offshore energy infrastructure and other plans across Ireland.
Electricité de France, or EDF, owns half of the massive wind project called Codling Wind Park off the Wicklow coast, which is by far the largest of six offshore projects that the Government is initially relying on to generate huge amounts of renewable sources of energy by a deadline of just eight years from now.
French president Emmanuel Macron has approved the full nationalisation of EDF, which includes the country's conventional power stations and nuclear generators, as a way for France to deal with the crisis caused by threats of energy supply insecurity should Russia turn off the gas completely to the EU.
However, the nationalisation of the giant utility means the French state will effectively own, via Codling, 50% of the most significant development in offshore renewables in the Irish State as well as other significant renewable projects in solar and onshore wind farms across Ireland.
Codling has taken on a significance all of its own as a key part of the Government's plans that require a total of five Irish Sea offshore projects running from Louth to Cork, along with a sixth offshore project in Galway, to deliver a huge amount of new renewables power onto the grid by 2030.
Codling by itself is slated to deliver between 900 megawatts and 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of power, which is the equivalent of building as many as three conventional large gas-powered power stations. The projected output from Codling is double the next largest offshore windfarm planned for the Irish Sea and is owned between EDF and Fred Olsen of Norway.
A spokesperson for EDF Renewables Ireland told thethe acquisition of the remaining 16% of EDF shares by the French government will have no impact on the company’s future plans in Ireland, or the development of Codling Wind Park.
"Codling Wind Park recently submitted its Maritime Area Consent application and along with our partner Fred Olsen Seawind, we are looking forward to developing what will be one of the country’s largest offshore wind projects and helping Ireland to realise its world leading potential in offshore wind,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
EDF also owns Wexford Solar which has plans for eight sites across Ireland and other onshore wind projects, including a wind farm in Co Carlow, that amount to a further 1GW of power-generating potential.
“We are excited about delivering on our 1GW onshore development pipeline with a number of wind and solar farms already announced or in construction around the country," said EDF.
“Given that the Government has just increased its offshore wind target from 5 to 7 gigawatts, Codling Wind Park will now be more important than ever in helping Ireland reach its target of 80% renewable electricity by 2030 and ensuring energy security for the country going forward”, said the spokesperson in the statement.