Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Ports Policy

Photo of Brian LeddinBrian Leddin (Limerick City, Green Party)
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94. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport what plans there are to support port improvement works to facilitate offshore renewables, nationally and in particular in Shannon Foynes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13224/24]

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 5GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030, with a further 2GW to be in development by 2030. Beyond that, the Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan 2021 also sets out a target of 37GW of ORE projects to be delivered before 2050.

Government policy on commercial state ports, including Shannon Foynes Port Company, is that they operate on a commercial self-funding basis. Notwithstanding this, the ORE Ports Facilitation Division in my Department is committed supporting the development of port infrastructure, to maximise the use of Irish ports for offshore wind delivery. Separately, the current review of the National Ports Policy will consider ways to support the development of this essential port infrastructure in line with the Government’s climate and energy goals.

In 2022 Shannon Foynes Port Company launched their Vision 2041 Master Plan which sets out the blueprint for the Shannon Estuary to become a hub for facilitating the development of ORE and clean fuel production. In this regard, the Port plans to redevelop the existing Foynes Port to facilitate fixed bottom ORE projects while also developing Foynes Island Deepwater Port to facilitate potential future floating ORE projects.

Regarding the redevelopment of Foynes Port, the Port submitted an application to the Connecting Europe Facility for funding towards the project, which my Department reviewed internally and provided feedback. If successful in this application the port may receive up to 30% of the funding towards the project, while the remainder would come from other sources, including equity and debt.

In relation to the Foynes Island Deepwater Port development, SFPC has submitted a business case to the Department which is currently under review by NewERA and my Department’s Strategic Research and Analysis Division (SRAD).

Furthermore, my Department have entered into an Advisory Agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to undertake an analysis of demand, capacity, and financing options relating to Irish ports’ ORE plans. Part of the analysis will include case studies of a number of proposed ORE ports projects.


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