WEI 2022 annual conference
April 28, 2022

Andrew Eviston

The Wind Energy Ireland 2022 Annual Conference (WEI) was held in Dublin, 13 – 14 April. This event bought together industry experts focusing on how the renewables sector can come together to ‘Build a Zero-Carbon Ireland.’ Ireland has a compelling opportunity to create a whole new industry around offshore wind while transforming its energy future.

How Ireland plans to meet its net-zero targets

Climate change and the war in Ukraine have increased the urgency and upped the stakes in making sure that Ireland’s energy system becomes more clean, secure and equitable. In addition, Irish electricity consumers are under steadily growing pressure as suppliers pass on rising costs driven by increased fossil fuel prices.

Ireland is betting that offshore wind will significantly improve energy security as it is one of the most critical measures to increase the proportion of renewable electricity to up to 80% by 2030, including an increased target of up to 5 Gigawatts of offshore wind. This will be crucial as Ireland moves away from fossil fuels and towards the electrification of transport, heat and other areas. (More information about Ireland’s 2021 Climate Action Plan can be found here.)

A new position paper published by WEI Working Together, Building Ireland’s offshore wind industry identifies some of the challenges to the development of offshore wind in Ireland, whilst also highlighting the success of some Irish companies building the offshore wind supply chain.

Conference highlights

I attended many great talks over the two-day conference. The session highlights for me – and what was talked about the most overall – were the goals for the 2030 and 2050 EU directive of net-zero carbon, how Ireland will achieve this target, and the role that offshore and onshore wind farms will play in renewable generation for the foreseeable future to aid in reaching these ambitious goals.

Another issue discussed was more focused on building a net-zero grid and moving entirely away from fossil fuels. Ideas for the implementation of green hydrogen and how it might play a key role in achieving the 2030 and 2050 targets for Ireland were part of the discourse on energy independence.

Research poster event

WEI held its first research poster event during this annual conference. This initiative offered students and researchers a unique opportunity to showcase their work, share their ideas and get feedback on from their peers and other industry players.

Final thoughts

The WEI conference offered an update on the status of renewable energy in Ireland, especially in relation to the vital role offshore and onshore wind will play in meeting the 2030 directives and the later 2050 directives. Green hydrogen is also in the plans as a clean energy carrier to store and deliver usable energy and ultimately begin to counter dependencies on fossil fuels in Ireland.

It is very encouraging to hear about Ireland’s renewable energy in the next eight years as we move towards the 2030 goals and beyond. It is reasonable to assume that we can reach the net-zero goals when looking at the overall roadmap, available technologies, etc., for the reduction of emissions, but the details on exactly what actions will be taken, when and by whom and the impacts for all our communities need more clarification to build confidence in the path ahead.

Please get in touch with us to find out how PSC can help achieve your net-zero targets.