Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Change members visit Portuguese Offshore Wind Facility
Members of the Oireachtas have completed a visit to WindFloat Atlantic, a first of its kind floating offshore wind farm operated by Ocean Winds since 2020. The delegation included Alan Farrell TD and Senator John McGahon of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action, giving them first-hand experience of the floating offshore wind facility and its associated infrastructure. It comes at a time when the need to leverage Ireland’s offshore wind power potential is greater than ever before, amid the increasing impact of climate change, as well as Ireland’s climate target ambitions.
WindFloat Atlantic is a first of a kind floating offshore wind farm in Portugal, operated by leading international offshore wind energy firm Ocean Winds, a joint venture between EDPR and ENGIE. The visit to the facility offered excellent insights into the optimal approach to offshore wind farm development including the importance of meaningful stakeholder engagement that Ocean Winds prioritises from the earliest stages of each project. The Oireachtas members also heard about the economic and infrastructural benefits of offshore wind farms, and the specific requirements necessary to accommodate floating offshore wind technology, which allows turbines to be located further from shore, in waters deeper than 60m and unlocked opportunities for countries with deep water depth like Portugal.
Commenting on the visit Dan Finch, Country Manager for Ocean Winds in Ireland said, “We were delighted to host Members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Change and give them an in-person tour of the facilities of WindFloat Atlantic, located off the coast of Viana do Castelo, Portugal. The WindFloat Atlantic project (25 MW) proves that the technology is viable and gives us best practices and key learnings for floating offshore wind at commercial scale.” He added: “In Ireland, the shallow seabed off Ireland’s east coast creates the ideal environment for bottom-fixed turbines and gives Ireland a significant advantage and an opportunity, which should be leveraged now before focussing on floating wind turbines thereafter. Ocean Winds has committed to developing a long-standing presence and to help support the country’s clean energy ambitions through the development of wind power facilities that can deliver renewable energy to fuel Irish businesses and communities.”
Brian Leddin TD, Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action commented, “Ireland possesses significant potential and enormous climatic and geographic advantages when it comes to generating offshore wind energy, particularly floating offshore. The Committee members were delighted to visit WindFloat Atlantic to see a floating offshore wind farm of this nature in full operation and learn more about the infrastructure and supports underpinning such a development.”
“It is important to take away some of the Portuguese floating offshore experience, as we progress Ireland’s journey towards maximising our own offshore wind energy capacity, be it fixed and/or floating, and meeting our ambitious 2030 climate and energy targets outlined in the Climate Action Plan 2023″.
Ocean Winds entered the Irish wind energy market in 2020, bringing with it over a decade of experience inherited from its sponsors in the development of wind energy facilities across North America, the UK, Europe, and Korea. Ocean Winds is proud to support the Irish Government and its ambition for offshore wind, as set out in the Climate Action Plan 2023. In an exclusive joint-venture with Bord na Móna, Ocean Winds is currently working on the development of two offshore projects by 2030, off the coast of counties Dublin and Wicklow – Réalt na Mara and Celtic Horizon off the coast of counties Wexford and Waterford. The combined projects promise to deliver over 2.3 GW of renewable energy to over 2.1 million Irish households.