Crown Estate launches consultation on renewables offshore Northern IrelandNews // April 28, 2011
The Crown Estate has launched a discussion process with the renewable energy industry on the design and development of offshore wind and tidal energy in Northern Ireland.
The ‘design discussion’ will run until 31 May 2011.
Industry views are being sought on how areas of the seabed could be made available for renewable energy projects and prospective developers of both offshore wind and tidal stream projects will be asked:
• Which areas in Northern Ireland waters are most attractive for development?
• How they would wish to see development rights provided by The Crown Estate?
The eight week discussion will help shape the leasing and development process, which is planned to commence later this year and will comprise two leasing rounds, one for offshore wind and one for tidal stream projects, which will be run in parallel.
Possible development rights could be awarded as early as spring 2012.
This ‘design discussion’ with potential developers supports the Northern Ireland Executive’s Strategic Energy Framework objective of significantly increasing the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources to 40 percent by 2020.
It follows extensive work by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI), including the publication of the draft Offshore Renewable Energy Strategic Action Plan 2009-2020 (ORESAP) to develop offshore renewable energy in Northern Ireland waters and the associated Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).
The SEA suggests there is the potential for developing 600-900 MW of offshore wind projects and 300 MW of tidal stream projects in a range of areas off the Northern Ireland coast. It is expected that DETI will finalise the ORESAP for publication by early summer 2011.
Dermot Grimson, head of external relations, marine policy and planning at The Crown Estate, said: “Following on from the supply chain event held in Belfast earlier this month the market interest in projects off Northern Ireland is growing.
"The Crown Estate is delighted to be working closely with DETI to help realise the potential for developing renewable energy offshore. In inviting views on how development rights should be offered, we hope to approach site leasing in a way that maximises market interest and commitment to development, and thereby find a ‘win-win’ for the industry and for Northern Ireland.”