Ireland can harness the tremendous power of its offshore wind by investing in large-scale floating wind farms.
A leading expert in the field has said Ireland must make use of its significant offshore resources if it is to reach its decarbonisation and renewable energy targets.
Trident Winds founder Alla Weinstein made the call at the fifth REthink Energy lecture from the ESB and the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA).
Ms Weinstein is leading the development of a commercial-scale floating offshore wind farm off the coast of California – and believes Ireland is well placed to take advantage of the technology.
Beginning her presentation, Alla Weinstein says "80% of the best #OffshoreWind resources are in waters greater than 60 metre. We are learning some of the lessons from oil and gas exploration and finding out that floating is better than fixed infrastructure".#REthinkEnergy pic.twitter.com/vEUu8hUey9
— IIEA (@iiea) November 20, 2020
She said Ireland’s offshore economic area is around four times larger than the island itself; however, a clear Marine Spatial Plan is needed to find out how much of that space could be used for offshore wind.
“When you take into account the competition for this space with shipping lanes and fishing and so on, this space becomes much smaller,” she said.
“So, Government and industry need to quickly come together to determine what space is available.”
Offshore wind, the future of Irish energy? Listening to Alla Weinstein of Trident Winds at @iiea. Could easily generate 3,000 jobs by 2030, but a Marine Spatial Plan is crucial pic.twitter.com/jDAxDptzas
— Ciarán Cuffe (@CiaranCuffe) November 20, 2020
Ms Weinstein said 80% of the world’s best offshore wind resources are located in waters deeper than 60 metres – making floating infrastructure more cost-effective than fixed.
With between 15 and 20 demonstrations of the technology ongoing around the world, she said the technology is “perfect and ready to go” – noting that investment is now needed to bring it to scale.
“When we talk about offshore wind, the question is not about research and development costs but infrastructure costs,” she said.
“Look at the scale of what we're talking about here. We know its potential but we have to scale up our investment to bring costs down.”
She said offshore wind could become Ireland’s main source of energy with the right investment in the coming years.
— IIEA (@iiea) November 20, 2020
Alla Weinstein is the founder of Trident Winds Inc, a deep-water offshore wind project development company.
She currently serves as Energy Appointee to the ‘Washington State Coastal Marine Advisory Council’ and is the US Department of Energy’s C3E Ambassador to the ‘Women in Clean Technology Initiative’.
The REthink Energy lecture series recognises that carbon neutrality can only be achieved through a fundamental transformation of Europe’s energy systems and features some of the world’s leading minds in politics, industry and academia to examine how this can be achieved.
The series began in July with an excellent talk by Christian Buchel, Chair of the E.DSO for Smart Grids, who spoke about the ‘smart grid revolution’ in Europe which will enable the digitalisation, decentralisation and decarbonisation of the electricity grid
It continued last month with a fascinating address from Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, Director and Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and key contributor to the Paris Climate Agreement.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, we heard from Dr Christina Demski Deputy Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) and Niamh Boyle founder and Managing Director of the Reputations Agency in Dublin on building popular support for the transition to green energy.
The fourth lecture in the series heard from former European Commission Director General for Energy, Sir Philip Lowe, who warned that, with Brexit on the horizon, the security of Ireland’s energy supply has never been more important.
You can tune in to the sixth lecture in the series on Friday December 11th at 1.00pm, with Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport.