The Government has announced a new system to allow off-shore wind projects to get the go-ahead.
It comes as there are increasing concerns about the country’s fossil fuel dependence in light of upcoming carbon emission targets, and the war in Ukraine.
Developers will be able to get a special Maritime Area Consent from the Environment Minister Eamon Ryan – which would then allow them make an application for an off-shore wind farm to An Bord Pleanala.
The Department of Environment will make a judgement on the applicants viability – meaning that only projects that could be completed will go forward into planning – which the Government says will streamline the process.
For years campaigners have called for more of a focus on off-shore wind farms to help power the electricity grid, rather than on-shore as they can cause issues for those living nearby.
Environment Minister Eamon Ryan says this is a tangible milestone towards 80 percent renewable electricity by 2030.
So far there’s only one operating off-shore wind farm here – off the coast of Wicklow – with the hopes that more projects like these will help reduce the country’s carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
One of the biggest such developments in the pipeline is the Shelmalere Wind Farm off the Wexford coast
The 1 GW project is currently in an early development stage, with ecology surveys underway and site investigation surveys being planned for the sixty plus turbines.