ESB strikes deal with Rosslare Europort to support offshore wind projects

23 Feb 2023

Glenn Carr, director of commercial businesses Irish Rail Port authority Rosslare Europort; Minister of State Jack Chambers TD; and Paul Lennon, head of offshore wind and hydrogen, ESB. Image: Patrick Browne

Works are ongoing at Rosslare Europort as part of plans to turn the area into an offshore wind energy hub.

The ESB is to co-operate with Rosslare Europort on a series of development plans for offshore wind projects in the Celtic and Irish Seas.

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to that effect today (23 February).

Both organisations have established interests in the renewable energy sector. ESB, a majority-State owned electricity company, is aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2040.

Rosslare Europort, which serves as an industry gateway between Europe and Ireland, is also linked to the State. It is run by Iarnród Eireann, the national railway company.

The non-exclusive MOU will see Rosslare Europort and the ESB combine their resources to establish the port as Ireland’s main offshore renewables hub.

In order to deliver on its plan to become a national offshore renewable energy hub, Rosslare will need upgrades to its infrastructure including a purpose-built quay and berth, a quayside storage area and a navigable channel dredged down to a minimum of nine to 11 metres in depth. The port will also need a management control centre, as well as offices and facilities for maintenance and operations staff.

Last September, the Office of Public Works announced on behalf of the state that it was hiring staff to work on an infrastructure project taking place at the port. The hiring drive was part of a wider recruitment effort by the OPW. It mostly focused on civil and structural engineering roles.

Commenting on the MOU announcement between ESB and Rosslare Europort today, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Jack Chambers said that offshore renewable energy was “integral to meeting Ireland’s climate change ambitions”.

Last year, Ireland set new targets of 37GW in offshore wind power by 2050. A report from September 2022 claimed that the country was lacking in suitable ports to help it meet these offshore wind energy targets.

Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions’ report found that there was only one port on the island of Ireland prepared for the construction of offshore windfarms. That was Belfast’s Harbour D1 facility.

Paul Lennon, head of offshore wind and hydrogen at ESB said that his organisation would work with Iarnród Eireann to ensure that suitable port infrastructure is available at Rosslare Europort to enable the successful delivery of these renewables projects.

Glenn Carr, director of commercial business units for Iarnród Éireann at Port Authority Rosslare Europort said that “Rosslare Europort is excited to work with ESB whose vision for the potential of ORE aligns with our own. We believe there are strong synergies to be achieved as we work together to place this renewable energy industry at the heart of Ireland’s decarbonised future.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.