Ireland has named seven offshore wind projects it hopes will help it hit its target of 3.5GW of turbines in its seas by 2030.

The offshore wind developments were designated as ‘relevant projects’, allowing them to proceed to the point at which they can apply for consent under new marine planning rules due to be introduced this year.

The projects are:

  • Oriel Wind Park – a 330MW co-development between Belgian developer Parkwind and Irish utility ESB
  • Codling 1 and 2 – 1GW of development off Dublin by EDF and Norway’s Fred Olsen Renewables.
  • Bray and Kish Banks, 600MW led by Innogy.
  • Skerd Rocks – 100MW off Ireland’s west coast.
  • North Irish Sea Array – up to 750MW owned by Statkraft following its acquisition of Element Power’s pipeline.

Environment minister Richard Bruton said: "This now sets out a clear development path for these offshore wind projects which will play a key role in decarbonising our electricity system.”

The 520MW Arklow Bank is also separately advancing as an extension of Ireland's original, and still only, operating offshore wind farm, a 25MW demonstrator project that opened in 2001.

The 3.5GW offshore is part of Ireland’s wider plan to hit a 70% renewables share by 2030 under its national climate plan.

Ireland is planning a rolling series of renewables auctions to help it meet its goals under plans approved late last year.

David Connolly, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association, said: “Today’s announcement will energise Ireland’s offshore wind industry and puts us on the path to achieving our 2030 targets for offshore wind.

“Ireland has some of the best offshore wind resources in the world and when completed these projects will deliver enormous cuts in our CO2 emissions.

“But we cannot afford to lose any more time. [Network operator] EirGrid and An Bord Pleanála must start working with these projects as soon as possible to identify how they will connect to the transmission system and to ensure we have the resources in place to process their planning applications as quickly as possible.”