Ireland’s offshore renewable energy resources are amongst the highest in the world with a potential of between 63,000 and 73,000 MW of power available for harnessing. Ports will play a key role in facilitating future large-scale developments and operations of ocean energy devices (wind turbines, wave energy converters and tidal turbines).
The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has published its report “IPORES 2018 – A Review of Irish Ports Offshore Renewable Energy Services”. The 2018 IPORES report provides a detailed summary of information on Irish port infrastructure, facilities and management plans in relation to meeting requirements of marine renewable energy developers and provides an update of where Ireland stands since the 2012 IPORES report was produced.
The report identifies the facilities and other criteria that will be considered by offshore renewable energy developers and comments on the preparedness of Irish ports to meet the needs of this emerging sector. The report finds that Irish ports are well positioned to provide the services required within the timeframe associated with the roll-out of the industry in Ireland.
Irish ports have exhibited a capacity to respond positively to commercial opportunities and will do so again as the offshore renewable energy industry grows. The commercial opportunities that will arise for ports will be in the construction, assembly, servicing and maintenance of devices, and in accommodating other supply chain activities on port estates.
A framework was developed to assess the ports and harbours included in the study. It builds on the 2012 IPORES report and for each port or harbour, reflects the current position in the Offshore Renewable Energy market, existing projects and pipeline, and the future potential. In summary, the framework includes criteria relating to current suitability and future potential to meet the requirements of developers in the ORE sector. The study involved a detailed stakeholder consultation process and analysis of all ports around the island of Ireland including a comparison with some key renewable energy services ports in the UK, Denmark and Germany.
The report provides a number of recommendations including the establishment of clear targets to deliver new offshore ocean renewable projects at Irish ports leading to new investment and employment opportunities.
Seizing the opportunities offered by the development of the ORE sector has the potential to provide significant economic benefits for Ireland. Robust estimates of potential job creation are grounded in current market intelligence derived from recent consultation with the ORE industry, a comprehensive literature review and international benchmarking. These forecasts could be used to strengthen, support and drive the agenda to develop the ORE sector illustrating the role that ports and harbours (with capacity and interest) have to play in developing the sector and the benefits that could accrue.