The Irish government has launched a public information and engagement period seeking the views of local South Coast communities to help determine where future offshore wind energy developments may take place.
This follows the publication of the South Coast Designated Maritime Area Plan (DMAP) Proposal last month by Minister Eamon Ryan, which puts forward an initial ‘proposed’ geographical area within which future offshore renewable energy developments could be advanced.
The initial proposed geographical area is approximately 8,600 square kilometers in size, extending from the High Water Mark on Ireland’s south coast to the 80-metre depth contour and/or the edge of the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
"The [Department of the Environment, Climate, and Communications] is seeking all views from interested citizens and impacted stakeholders, including: local communities and community organizations, individual local participants or representative bodies from the fishing and seafood sector, environmental organizations, as well as business groups within counties Waterford, Wexford, and Cork.
The eight-week public information period will run until September 26, and include face-to-face public information events in a number of venues within counties Waterford, Wexford, and Cork.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, said: "Future offshore wind energy development has the potential to offer enormous economic opportunities for Ireland’s coastal communities, in terms of jobs growth and local community development. This rigorous plan-led approach adopted by Government will also offer the best way to protect local marine environments while also boosting local community development.
"I strongly encourage all interested citizens, local communities, and various groups involved in existing maritime activities, including fishing and seafood production, throughout the South Coast to engage in public participation opportunities that will contribute to establishment of the South Coast DMAP over the coming months.”
In its call, the government highlighted, the success of Ireland’s first offshore wind auction earlier this year, ORESS 1, which "highlighted Ireland’s enormous potential in offshore wind, having procured more than 3 GW of competitively priced green energy."
"As approved by Government and the Oireachtas, all future offshore wind development in Ireland will take place according to a strategic, sustainable and plan led approach. What this means in practice is that the State, in cooperation with local communities and with consideration for other maritime activities including fishing and seafood production, and with provisions for environmental protection, will determine the appropriate location for offshore wind developments," the government said.