In a survey conducted by MaREI, 93pc of people said they would not object to an offshore windfarm anywhere in Irish waters.
The Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) Centre has released the results of a survey on the public’s opinion of offshore windfarms.
MaREI, which is a Science Foundation Ireland centre based at University College Cork, polled 1,154 people and suggested that there is “significant” support from the Irish public for the development of offshore windfarms in Irish waters.
The survey follows the recent Government announcement to fast-track seven offshore wind projects in the Irish Sea under a new planning regime. Under the Climate Action Plan, the Government is aiming to have 70pc of Ireland’s electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030.
Helping Ireland meet targets
Of those surveyed by MaREI, 87pc said that they would not object to the development of an offshore windfarm off the coast of their locality, while 93pc said that they would not object to an offshore windfarm anywhere in Irish waters.
MaREI said that there has been “little understanding” of the perception of the Irish public of offshore windfarms. It added that most of those questioned said Ireland is too reliant on foreign energy and is running out of its limited fossil fuel reserves.
The centre said that the majority of people believe the Government is not doing enough to reduce carbon emissions. Some 73pc of those surveyed said that they believe offshore windfarms could help Ireland meet its European carbon reduction targets.
The survey was part of the EirWind project, which MaREI said is developing a “blueprint for the offshore wind sector”. This includes an analysis of cost, environmental, technological and social factors associated with developing the sector in Ireland.
Yvonne Cronin, lead researcher on the study, said: “Moving turbines offshore can help to overcome issues of space for wind turbines on land. It can also help to meet targets for clean, renewable energy and create jobs as Ireland seeks to rebuild the economy.”
The survey suggested that those with experience of offshore windfarms were more positive towards the development of them in Irish waters than those with no experience. MaREI said that in terms of the effect on wildlife, tourism and aesthetics, respondents said that offshore turbines are “relatively unobtrusive”.
Additionally, 60pc of respondents said that seeing offshore wind turbines made them feel that they were helping to stall the climate crisis.