Insights Blog

The Government of Ireland published its Policy Statement on the Future Framework for Offshore Renewable Energy today.

We looked at the draft Policy Statement in a briefing here. While it identified 21 actions, the final Policy Statement now lists 29 medium-term actions to deliver Ireland’s offshore ambitions, including the following priority actions:

  • Action 7: Provide the structure and supports necessary to establish a future DMAP roadmap.
  • Action 10: Explore the feasibility of implementing a competitive MAC framework.
  • Action 1: Explore the possibility of a roadmap for future ORE development.
  • Action 12: Design and develop a successor support scheme to ORESS.
  • Action 13: Maximise capacity from alternative routes to market.
  • Action 16: Align infrastructure efficiencies to consider generation, grid, and route to market.
  • Action 2: Assess the potential to deploy floating offshore wind at scale in Irish waters.

A key priority for developers will be action 16, ‘Rollout of EirGrid’s Grid Implementation Plan and future iterations to aid in the alignment of infrastructure efficiencies in a manner which considers offshore generation, grid, and routes to market’, the timeline for which is Q2 2024-Q2 2025. Stakeholders will also be interested in the CRU’s PR6 Strategy Paper, which includes a new objective for the TSO: successfully establishing an offshore electricity system and achieving integration of the offshore revenue recovery model. The CRU invites comments and indicates the consultation paper on PR6 will be published in Q1/Q2 2025.

Further actions around infrastructural alignment are at pages 43-44 of the Statement. They include identification of resourcing needs, with DECC to facilitate inter-departmental analysis and report to Government in Q3 2024 with a business case for strategic investment in the future framework.

Remaining actions are listed at pages 78-82.  They include: assess the potential for accelerating the development of a West Coast DMAP and examine the cost and viability of initiating floating offshore wind projects in this DMAP; design a competitive process to facilitate sea-bed access designated for 2GW of non-grid limited capacity in 2025, to be in development by 2030; and explore and develop routes to markets as required for the 2GW non-grid limited generation capacity in alignment with the National Hydrogen Strategy.

A new statement relates to route to market:

“Government recognises that the efficient operation of the planning system, including in terms of expected decision-making timelines and clarity on the sequencing of the plan-led process, can assist in project deployment by providing the certainty that is required to support financing and timely delivery.

The current sequencing for the ORE plan-led process, as established in the Phase 2 Policy Statement, is as follows: DMAP delineation, MAC, grid assessment, route to market such as auctions, development permission and grid offer.

Importantly, this sequence may not necessarily be the only sequence employed for all future ORE development. One potential alteration to the plan-led sequencing will be to delay the auction or price bidding mechanism until after project development permission has been secured. In that altered scenario, the modified sequence would become: DMAP delineation, competitive MAC, development permission, and route to market such as auctions. This adjustment would seek to reduce financial risks to developers who are currently required to model supply chain and associated costs 5-6 years prior to engaging in binding contracts. However, this sequencing pattern would only be feasible with the introduction of a competitive MAC process. To prevent pre-emptive policy, the consideration of this sequencing model will be examined more thoroughly if competitive MACs are pursued under Action 10 of this Future Framework and therefore are not proposed in this iteration.”

We will update you on the draft South Coast DMAP when published.