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Landmark day for Offshore Wind Energy for Wicklow welcomed by Matthews

Green Party TD, Steven Matthews was speaking following the issue of the auction timelines for offshore energy which is a significantly important step in the delivery of affordable and abundant, clean green wind energy, a decarbonised energy system, massive job potential for Wicklow and affordable energy for now and for future generations.

The auction system has been long awaited by the wind energy suppliers as it allows them to bid to supply affordable electricity and build and produce wind energy for Ireland.

Apart from our opportunity to become energy independent and cut the climate damaging emissions from oil and gas generation of electricity, there is huge economic and employment opportunity for County Wicklow to become the national leader in offshore renewable technology, maintenance, training, supply chain and professional services to this vast industry. Arklow will become the operation and management centre for SSE Renewables Arklow Bank phase 2, whilst Wicklow Town is likely to provide similar for the 1.5-Gigawatt Codling Wind Park. This means lots of jobs in these areas across a huge range of services required by this industry. I am working closely with Wicklow County Council to ensure that timely delivery of services and infrastructure enables Wicklow to capture the socio-economic benefits of Irelands offshore energy future.

Wind Energy Ireland recently described the publication of the terms for the first auction for offshore renewable energy as a landmark day for climate action. The 20-year contracts and index link prices in the auction terms gives confidence to wind energy developers to bid at levels that will push down prices for Irish consumers and ensure that Ireland will have large scale offshore wind energy delivering our future energy needs independent from volatile gas and oil sources.

I am liaising with Government ministers and departments on employment and training opportunities and how we can assist local employers and business to tap into the various supply chain requirements over the course of planning, designing, constructing, testing, and maintaining the offshore and onshore infrastructure and services. The jobs potential doesn’t end in the generation systems, there is a great future in electrifying transport, manufacturing and heating too.

Irelands sea area is over seven times our landmass which means we have potential to be one of the largest offshore renewable energy suppliers in Europe. Through the Oireachtas committee which I chair, we have recently introduced a new planning regime for the sea area, established a new regulatory authority (MARA), increased An Bord Pleanala resources, issued Maritime Area Consents and the first planning permission for an onshore connector was granted recently for Arklow. The Government has set a target of 7 Gigawatts of offshore electricity and the first applications should start delivering energy to the grid in 2028

Wicklow had the first ever offshore wind turbines, built in 2003 in Arklow but nothing ever happened after that development. With our introduction of the Climate Act earlier this year and the most ambitious target for climate action and renewable energy production, the Green Party will ensure a clean, affordable, and secure energy future for our country with Wicklow as the leading light.



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