Home » Ireland’s ESB partners with Ørsted in ‘landmark’ offshore wind deal

Ireland’s ESB partners with Ørsted in ‘landmark’ offshore wind deal

by Liam Turner
An offshore wind farm during sunset

Irish energy firm ESB has partnered with offshore wind provider Ørsted to jointly develop an Irish offshore wind portfolio in what has been called a “landmark deal”.

The agreement was launched last week by the minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Simon Coveney; ESB’s Jim Dollard; and Duncan Clark, head of UK and Ireland at Denmark-based Ørsted.  

As part of the deal, Ørsted becomes a 50/50 partner in a pipeline of offshore wind development projects off the Irish coast.

Ireland’s wider maritime area is more than 10 times the size of its landmass.

The partnership has the potential to deliver up to five gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy and complementary renewable hydrogen projects.

The first of these offshore wind projects is expected to compete in the next Irish offshore wind auction.

The partnership also encompasses an agreement to explore opportunities from renewable hydrogen produced from the projects in the longer term.

The Irish government aims to install 7 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

ESB aims to achieve net-zero by 2040.

‘Vote of confidence’

Commenting on the partnership, minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Simon Coveney said: “The Irish government is committed to developing a strong offshore wind sector, which will provide us with abundant clean and secure renewable energy.

“We’ve signed into law an ambitious Climate Action Plan, which includes a 5 GW offshore wind target by 2030 with a target to generate 80% of our electricity from renewable sources.

“This will be further supported by a National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind from my department.”

He added: “Today’s announcement is a strong vote of confidence in Ireland’s sustainable future and an important milestone in building a new, indigenous energy system, which is both secure, affordable, and clean.” 

Jim Dollard, ESB executive director of Generation and Trading, said: “In recent years, ESB has amassed considerable expertise in offshore wind, partnering with leading energy companies in projects of scale and building a significant offshore footprint across Ireland and Great Britain.

“ESB is developing a large renewables pipeline, and as part of that has developed a strong portfolio of offshore wind projects around the coasts of Ireland. 

“We are delighted to partner with Ørsted, a global leader in the offshore wind industry, in developing this portfolio in Ireland.

“Offshore wind in Ireland will play a key part in the delivery of the ESB Strategy, Driven to Make A Difference – Net Zero by 2040 and the announcement of this partnership with Ørsted is an important step in that journey.” 

Duncan Clark, senior vice-president and head of UK and Ireland at Ørsted, said: “With a strong Irish onshore portfolio already in place, we are delighted to begin our journey in the Irish offshore market with ESB, the company that brought electricity to Ireland, and that today plays a leading role in the path to net-zero.”

He added: “This partnership combines complementary strengths relevant to development in this market and creates an ideal platform for Ørsted to bring its global expertise in the delivery of offshore wind to bear in Ireland.

“From the world’s first offshore turbine in Denmark in 1991 to the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, Hornsea 2 in the UK, Ørsted has been a driving force behind the commercialisation of the offshore wind industry across Europe, Asia, and America as part of our vision to create a world that runs entirely on green energy.”

Image: Nuttawut Uttamaharad/Shutterstock

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