Ambitious plans have been announced to establish Rosslare Europort as the country’s leading offshore renewable energy hub in County Wexford.
A €350 million master plan covering various facets of development at Rosslare over the next few years includes a €200 million plan to build the necessary infrastructure to allow wind power companies to use the port to harvest electricity generated at high sea.
The plan for the future of Europort also includes better passenger and freight facilities, new import and export services, a permanent border checkpoint, the digitization of all operations and systems, and a new N25 access route to take traffic out. heavy from the town of Rosslare.
Plans are now getting under way to bring the offshore renewable energy hub to the planning permission stage, while financial consultants have been appointed to develop a detailed business case and put together financing options.
Rosslare management has also engaged over the past 18 months with wind power developers to enable them to implement all the requirements for the industry, such as deeper subsea channels, more berths and a larger land area.
Rosslare Europort General Manager Glenn Carr said the initiative will support Ireland’s “climate action plan for 2030” when the renewable energy element moves forward.
Carr said: “Rosslare Europort is the closest port to where many of the wind farm developments in the Irish Sea and Celtic Sea will take place.
“We are an ideal port to be developed, we are going to deepen the port to about 11 meters, reclaim up to 50 acres of land and dedicated berths up to 350 meters long, providing what the industry, after consultation with all developers coming in to market with what they need for decades to come.
The chief executive of Íarnród Éireann, which owns the port, Jim Meade, said the master plan “signifies the importance we place on Rosslare as a key facility and a key piece of infrastructure, for the railway and for Ireland in general”.
It marks the next phase of development for the facility, he said.
“We see a real opportunity with offshore wind, where Rosslare can service that industry for years to come.”
He said that up to 2,000 jobs will be created during the next developments.
Meade said, “It’s very important to the region here that this center can become a catalyst for development in the region.”
He noted that it will complement the new South East Technological University that is about to be created across the region and Wexford Campus Director Dr Karen Hennessy said it is an important development for the area.
“Hugely ambitious plans for the future of the region,” he said, “that will have a huge impact over the next five, 10, 20 years, and very much in line with the developments that lie ahead for the southeast.”
Dr Hennessy said: “On May 1st we have the South East Technological University designation, with campuses in Wexford, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Wicklow and it will produce up to 6000 graduates a year and many of those graduates will be in the area of STEM and will feed into and hopefully support this fantastic development.”
Wind Energy Ireland chief policy officer Niall Goodwin said it is important that ports in Ireland are able to support the development of offshore power generation.
“Not only does it create jobs for the South East region and it creates that massive regional economic opportunity there, Rosslare is a port that is close to where a lot of these developments will happen in the Celtic Sea and in the Irish Sea. We have huge potential here.” in Ireland to develop offshore renewables and this is a key step towards achieving this and making sure our ports are ready to take advantage of it.
Goodwin added: “By 2030, hopefully we will have five gigawatts of offshore wind power. [energy] in the system. There are a few steps that we need to take before we get there and a lot of them are related to making sure that we give certainty to the international supply chain and making sure that our plans are very clear in terms of where we are going.”