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Future of Energy Q3 2023

Wind energy in Ireland: planning and grid must be top priorities

Windturbines at sunset
Windturbines at sunset
iStock / Getty Images Plus / Sabine Hortebusch

Justin Moran

Director of External Affairs, Wind Energy Ireland

Irish consumers avoided paying €2 billion for gas last year because the country’s wind farms provided a third of our electricity.


New records have already been set for January, April and July of this year while the average monthly wholesale electricity price in July was at its lowest level since 2021.  

Benefits of wind energy 

Every day, Irish wind farms are protecting consumers while cutting the carbon emissions that are driving the climate emergency. The faster we can build and connect new onshore wind farms to the electricity system, the more secure we make Ireland’s energy supply, the more money we put back into people’s pockets and the more we cut our carbon emissions. Momentum is also growing behind Ireland’s offshore wind energy revolution with the first six offshore projects due to enter the planning system before the end of the year.  

We need the right people, with the right
expertise, to make the right decisions.

Rolling out renewable energy in Ireland 

The best way out of this energy crisis is to accelerate the development of renewable energy. We must ensure more of our power is provided here, at home, creating Irish jobs and supporting local communities. 

However, there is a growing backlog of projects stuck in An Bord Pleanála waiting for a decision — for years, in some cases. The resources are simply not there or in agencies like the National Parks & Wildlife Service or the newly formed Maritime Area Regulatory Authority.  

We need the right people, with the right expertise, to make the right decisions. We need them to ensure that these projects are built and that the public has confidence the system is working properly. 

The Government’s plans to reform the planning system, by putting in place mandatory timelines for decisions, need to be fully supported. There must be total political backing right across the Oireachtas for EirGrid’s strategy to reinforce the country’s electricity grid. 

Prioritising a reliable planning system 

We cannot build the wind farms we need without a planning system that is fit for purpose, and we cannot get the power to where it is needed without a much stronger electricity grid. Both of these issues must be top priorities for all political parties ahead of this year’s budget and elections coming in 2024.  

The quicker we can overcome these challenges, the faster we will be able to build the wind farms we need — on and offshore — to secure Ireland’s energy supply, support local communities and create thousands of green energy jobs. 

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