Dublin, Ireland [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] Irish Energy Minister Eamon Ryan has announced a modification to the country’s renewable energy feed-in tariff scheme (Refit) to support the development of offshore wind power. The Refit scheme provides a guaranteed price for electricity produced by new plants for 15 years. Under the latest change, offshore wind-power projects are to be supported at a price of EUR140 [U.S. $200]/megawatt hour (MWh).
The development followed the release of a recent study which concluded that Ireland can be world leader in renewable energy. According to the study, investment of more than €650 million [U.S. 950 million] will be necessary to reinforce over 600 km of the electricity transmission network. Corresponding investment required from private industry would be approximately €9 billion [U.S. 13 billion].
The department is also working on a proposal with colleagues from Scotland and Northern Ireland on the feasibility of building new sub-sea transmission links along the Irish Sea that could be part of a new extended European off-shore grid connecting wind farms from other jurisdictions so that electricity will be produced on a consistent and predictable basis.
“The support price is in line with what other countries are offering and without it we would not be able to attract any investment into Ireland. Now, investors can be confident when they invest in offshore wind,” Ryan said. “If we can connect and integrate wind farms from other jurisdictions, electricity will be produced wherever the wind is blowing. Offshore wind projects and investors will reap the benefits of the guaranteed price and further connection with Europe. Projects of real scale can be developed.”