The chief executive of the Irish Wind Association has said the electricity generated from offshore wind farms has the ability to account for half of all the carbon savings that the Government is trying to achieve by 2030.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, David Connolly welcomed new planning drafts for the country's coastline and seabed which will give offshore wind projects "preference" in certain marine areas.

He said Ireland has the ability to "produce more energy than we will ever need" by harnessing the power of offshore wind.

Under its Climate Action Plan, the Government aims to increase its electricity from renewable sources from 30% to 70%.

Mr Connolly said a typical offshore wind farm comprises 50 turbines in the sea.

He said, in an Irish context, the vast majority of turbines would be best placed along the east coast of Ireland to the south, where the water is at its shallowest, for example from Louth to Cork. 

He added that the wind farm "would look like the size of your thumb on the horizon".

Mr Connolly said consultation with stakeholders will help to balance the needs of ecosystems and vested interests, to ensure that people and marine life can co-exist.