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Ireland: ESB and Equinor announce partnership to deliver potential offshore wind projects
21 Nov 2019
The Republic of Ireland's Electricity Supply Board (ESB) has entered into a partnership with Norway's Equinor to identify suitable sites for new offshore windfarms in Irish waters and work to mature potential future wind projects. The potential for energy storage technology and other technologies to complement offshore wind operations will also be examined.
It is the ambition of the partnership to explore opportunities for large scale wind projects towards commercial operation by 2030, thus contributing to the wider goals of the Irish Government on energy transition. Furthermore, this agreement strengthens ESB’s commitment to the development of an offshore wind portfolio in the Irish market, building on a recent investment in the Galloper offshore windfarm in the UK and making an important contribution to ESB’s Brighter Future Strategy. This partnership will also support the Government’s 2050 vision for a net zero carbon economy through fixed and floating offshore wind farms and enabling technologies.
The partnership is founded on a long-term vision held by both participants to develop well-designed offshore wind projects of scale, taking into account the needs and interests of key stakeholders.
Equinor has significant global experience in the development and operation of offshore wind energy projects which complement ESB’s existing expertise and experience of developing and operating generation projects in the Irish and UK market.
Welcoming the partnership, ESB Generation and Trading Executive Director Jim Dollard, says:
'Through this partnership, we are demonstrating our commitment to creating a low-carbon future, powered by clean electricity. The delivery of offshore wind projects in Ireland further supports our strategy to significantly reduce the carbon intensity of the electricity we generate. By collaborating with innovative, like-minded organisations such as Equinor we will play a leading role in the transition to a clean energy future. Equinor’s scale and capabilities making them an ideal long-term partner. Today’s announcement represents a significant commitment by ESB in offshore wind in Ireland.'
The initiation of this partnership is timely. The Government’s Climate Action Plan, published in June of this year, set a target to have at least 3.5GW of offshore wind for Ireland in the next decade, which will help renewables account for 70 percent of electricity generation by 2030. With a sea area almost 10 times the size of its landmass, Ireland has very significant offshore wind capacity.
With a sea area almost 10 times the size of its landmass, Ireland has very significant offshore wind capacity.
'We are looking forward to a strong collaboration with ESB, where we will jointly explore offshore wind opportunities in the Irish market. ESB brings local knowledge and expertise and in the ongoing energy transition offshore wind can contribute as an important source of renewable providing energy to people and progress to society,' says Senior Vice President for business development in New Energy Solutions, Equinor Jens O. Økland.