Written answers

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Ports Policy

Photo of Darren O'RourkeDarren O'Rourke (Meath East, Sinn Fein)
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95. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures he will take to ensure Irish ports are equipped to deliver on offshore wind targets; if he will outline State and other planned ports investments for 2023; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2410/23]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) is integral to achieving Ireland’s Climate Change ambitions with a target of achieving 7GW (2GW of which is dedicated solely to produce green hydrogen) of offshore energy by 2030. In December 2021, I published a policy paper, “Facilitation of Offshore Renewable Energy by Commercial Ports in Ireland”, which identified that four to five port facilities (each capable of building 500 MW of ORE annually) will be required for deployment activity and multiple ports, both on the east and west coast, will be needed for operation and maintenance (O&M) operations.

Following the Government decision on 14th Sept 2022, that all work, planning and consents, relating to ORE be prioritised across Departments, officials in my department are prioritising all workstreams with ongoing engagement with other departments.

As you are aware, while Irish Ports receive no exchequer funding, EU funding of port infrastructure for ORE is now available for ports, or terminals within ports, on the Trans European Network for Transport (TEN-T). Furthermore, my department has been engaging with ISIF, EIB and the EU Commission, regarding the availability of funding for ports in providing the ORE infrastructure to meet EU and Ireland's ambitions.

A National Task Force has been established by Department of Environment Climate & Communication (DECC) on the delivery of offshore wind energy. The Task Force on which I sit, brings together senior representatives from key departments and agencies and has set the development of port infrastructure as one of its core objectives.

This development will not happen in isolation, however. It will be done in tandem with improvements to the planning process, the introduction of appropriate regulatory frameworks, the establishment of a cohesive supply chain and skills capability, including ecological and environmental and enhancements to the national grid.

My department continues to encourage engagement between the ports and developers and in 2022, the Ports Co-ordination Group was established to coordinate port responses and maintain policy in the development of offshore renewable energy.


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