NI Offshore Renewable Energy 3 April 2012
Foster launches Northern Ireland’s offshore renewable energy plan
Arlene Foster today announced the publication of the Department of Enterprise,
Trade and Investment’s vision for developing Northern Ireland’s offshore
renewable energy resources to 2020 and beyond.
The Offshore Renewable Energy Strategic Action Plan (ORESAP) has been developed following a consultation process with key stakeholders such as other Departments, marine sectors and the wider public over the last two years.
Arlene Foster said: “The consultation process was very successful and the stakeholder engagement was extremely beneficial for all parties. As a result, we have been able to identify the range of actions needed to facilitate the successful and sustainable development of our excellent offshore renewable resource. I am keen that this engagement should continue as we implement the plan and work with project developers over the coming years.
“The first Northern Ireland Offshore Renewable Energy Leasing Round is well underway with the prospect of The Crown Estate offering development rights by autumn 2012 for offshore wind and tidal projects. Such projects will not only contribute to the Executive’s target of 40% renewable electricity by 2020 but will develop further in the period 2020–2030. ”
The ORESAP contains actions to facilitate the opportunities and also address the challenges of offshore development through a range of policy, legislative and operational activity. DETI has also established an Offshore Renewable Energy Forum, involving external stakeholders representing other marine sectors such as the fishing sector and environmental interests, to advise it in the implementation of the plan.
The Leasing Round process, launched by The Crown Estate in December 2011, is offering a single 600MW offshore wind project off the coast of South Down and multiple tidal projects up to 200MW off Rathlin Island and Torr Head. It is anticipated that projects will reach development stages from 2016/17 onwards.
Rob Hastings, Director of Energy and Infrastructure at The Crown Estate said: “The significant work carried out by DETI over the last couple of years in developing this plan has provided an excellent framework within which The Crown Estate is proceeding with the leasing round in Northern Ireland waters. We will continue to work closely with DETI and other key stakeholders as the round and the implementation of the plan progress.”
Arlene Foster concluded: “Offshore renewables represent a huge opportunity for Northern Ireland; an opportunity to contribute to our challenging renewable energy targets and build new industries to serve this growing offshore market. I am keen that all sectors appreciate and realise the benefits that these activities can provide. We will aim to strike a balance between economic, social and environmental needs as we take forward the plan.”