This report was prepared by Byrne Ó Cléirigh for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. It provides a comparative analysis of the costs and benefits to the State of implementing three support options for Offshore Wind Energy (OWE) in Irish waters, viz.:
- A research and development programme;
- A demonstration programme consisting of ~5 MW, ~25 MW or ~50 MW projects;
- A full-scale deployment programme.
OWE is conceptually similar to the land based equivalent but it is less well developed. At the end of 2001, there were eight OWE projects installed worldwide with a combined installed capacity of approximately 80 MW. Ireland has a huge OWE resource, including a significant resource in relatively shallow waters close to the electrical network and to load centres. However, there are a number of important technical barriers to the full exploitation of this resource. To date, there are no developments in Irish waters but several consortia propose to develop projects with a combined installed capacity in excess of 2,000 MW. Most are located on the shallow water banks off the East Coast.