Government Policy On Phase 2 Of Offshore Wind Development In Ireland

Law FirmArthur Cox
Subject MatterGovernment, Public Sector, Energy and Natural Resources, Energy Law, Government Contracts, Procurement & PPP, Renewables
AuthorMs Danielle Conaghan, Jacinta Conway and Katrina Donnelly
Published date28 March 2023

We looked here at recent indications from DECC that there will be a faster move to a plan-led approach to developing offshore renewable energy. This has been followed by publication of the Policy Statement on the Framework for Phase 2 Offshore Wind.

While the Government wishes to see 7GW of new offshore generation capacity, the line of sight for Phase 2 development is now limited in this Policy Statement to less than 1GW. This raises concerns around whether Ireland will be able to meet its ambitious targets. It also highlights the importance of getting to grips with the need to adequately invest in the grid.

Some of the key points in the Plan are set out below.

Phase 1

Unsuccessful ORESS 1 projects will be afforded a "strictly limited period" by the CRU within which to secure a CPPA, beyond which they will have to give up their Grid Connection Assessments.

Phase 2

Two areas geographically aligned with existing onshore grid capacity on the South coast are to be formally designated by the end of 2023, following which the ORESS 2 auction will launch, also intended to be done by the end of 2023.

The two proposed Designated Areas that have been identified will be for two grid connections of approximately 350MW, each at different locations. The precise location of the onshore connection nodes is to be identified by EirGrid over the coming months. ORESS 2 participants will compete for supports to develop 350MW of offshore wind projects utilising proven technology that has been delivered at scale in other jurisdictions within each of these areas, or a 700MW project within a single area. Innovative ways to maximise the energy output from these maritime areas beyond the level of available grid capacity will be considered: the auction winner selection process may include weighting towards projects that can deliver additional non-grid connected capacity. Further ORESS 2 design considerations may include weighting for co-location of flexible demand, overbuild, storage or other innovation that would maximise GHG reductions in the State.

It is not yet known whether a MAC will be required to compete in ORESS 2, but this is expected to be outlined in the coming weeks, to coincide with the publication of proposed Designated Areas, and following further discussion between DECC, MARA and relevant stakeholders. If MACs are not required in order to compete in ORESS 2, projects will still have to show the same financial and technical competency requirements sought by MARA in...

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