ISIF backs new renewables firm tapping into Irish offshore wind market

11 Oct 2021

From left: Austin Coughlan, Temporis Aurora; Vanessa O’Connell, Inis Offshore Wind; and Aoife Galvin, Inis Offshore Wind. Image: Naoise Culhane Photography

Inis Offshore Wind will be headed up by former Ørsted executive Vanessa O’Connell.

A new renewable energy company has launched in Ireland with plans to develop at least 1GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.

The company said if its initial projects progress successfully, it could provide enough electricity to power more than 800,000 homes.

Inis Offshore Wind has been funded through the Temporis Aurora Fund by the Government’s Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) as well as other institutional investors from the EU, the UK and the US, with financing totalling €126m.

The company has identified five potential project sites for assessment off the east and west coasts of Ireland as well as in the Celtic Sea, with initial projects enabling up to €3bn in capital investment.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, TD, said he’s encouraged to see how the ISIF’s investment in Temporis is helping Ireland transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Developing sustainable, renewable energy sources like offshore wind are a key part of Government policy to harness our ocean wealth for the people of Ireland while creating new local industry and supporting jobs in the process,” he said.

Paul Saunders, senior investment director at ISIF, added that the launch of Inis Offshore Wind is an exciting milestone in the development of Ireland’s offshore wind market.

“We feel ISIF’s involvement will act as a significant catalyst to attract international private sector investment into Ireland, in line with our ‘double bottom line’ mandate to generate a commercial return and support economic activity and employment in Ireland.”

Last month, ISIF said it is planning to target €1bn of investment in climate action projects over the next five years, including energy efficiency projects, energy storage, renewable power sources and resource-saving measures.

‘Ireland’s unparalleled offshore wind resource’

Inis Offshore Wind will be headed up by Vanessa O’Connell, a former executive at Danish power company Ørsted.

Earlier this year, Ørsted acquired 100pc equity interest in Brookfield Renewable Ireland’s onshore windfarm business in a €571m deal.

Speaking about Inis Offshore Wind, O’Connell said the new company’s aim is to “tap Ireland’s unparalleled offshore wind resource” and enable a sustainable energy future for the country.

“With a current pipeline of five potential projects, we look forward to announcing more detail on our plans in due course and will work very closely with local communities, including marine users, to ensure their views are reflected in our plans and so that we maximise the positive impact our work has on local communities.”

This is the latest in a string of investments and expansions within Ireland’s wind energy industry this year.

Last month, Bord na Móna and ESB closed a financing deal to expand the Oweninny windfarm in Co Mayo. In August, Cavan-based renewable energy company Galetech Group acquired a 38pc stake in wind energy company Optinergy.

Meanwhile in June, SSE Renewables unveiled its plans for a €15m operations and maintenance facility at Arklow Harbour. The proposed development is part of the second phase of the Arklow Bank Wind Park project, which is looking to deliver a 520MW windfarm off the coast of Co Wicklow.

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Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic