Ireland needs to install 1GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2025 if it is to meet the new Government's target of 5GW of installed offshore wind by 2030, an energy conference heard today. 

Paul Cooley, Director of Capital Projects at SSE Renewables, was addressing the Energy Ireland Offshore Energy Conference today.

He said the Government's ambition to deliver an increased 5GW of offshore wind energy off Ireland's eastern and southern coasts by the end of the decade is welcome. 

But he said this new scale must be delivered at pace and with immediate effect if targets are to be met. 

He said that delivery of 1GW of offshore wind energy in the Irish Sea by 2025 will get Ireland on track to meet the new 5GW target.

It will also contribute 2% of the Programme for Government's annual 7% reduction in Ireland's overall greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2030. 

He noted that completion of the 520MW Arklow Bank Wind Park by SSE Renewables in the next five years will itself contribute to just over half the 2% reduction in carbon emissions that can be achieved by 2025. 

"Installing operational offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea by the middle of the decade and within the lifetime of this Government will be vital in maintaining the momentum for offshore wind energy initiated by last year's Climate Action Plan and further committed to in the new Programme for Government," Paul Cooley said. 

"This is especially crucial if we are to establish an offshore wind energy industry in Ireland, including the development of an indigenous, job-creating supply chain," he added. 

Paul Cooley also said that international market confidence in Ireland's readiness to exploit offshore wind energy will be undermined by any perceived lack of urgency in developing the emerging energy sector here.