The Maritime Area Planning Bill will be an “important step” for developing offshore wind energy, according to Wind Energy Ireland.

Today (Monday, August 16) the full text of the bill was published.

This legislation intends to put in place a comprehensive and coherent planning system for the entire maritime area.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications said that Ireland’s offshore wind resources “represent a real opportunity to break free from fossil fuels”.

Wind Energy Ireland has welcomed the bill, and called on all political parties “to make it a top priority for passage” when the Oireachtas resumes sittings in September.

Ireland has a target to develop 5,000MW of offshore wind energy – approximately seven to 10 wind farms – by the end of 2030.

“Establishing a planning system for these projects is essential, making this bill one of the most important pieces of legislation the Oireachtas will deal with this year,” Wind Energy Ireland said.

‘No time to waste’

The organisation’s head of public affairs Justin Moran said that “the key message” from the IPCC report last week “is that there is no time to waste”.

“We must decarbonise our energy system as quickly as possible and offshore wind energy is critical for this.

“The publication of the bill, which will put in place a coherent planning system for our maritime area, is an important step towards enabling Ireland to finally take advantage of some of the best renewable energy resources in the world.”

Wind Energy Ireland said it has written to the leaders of every political party in the Dáil “to urge them to prioritise the bill”.

“It must get the proper robust scrutiny required of every piece of legislation but, if our elected representatives are serious about tackling climate change, it must be top of their agenda when the Oireachtas meets again next month,” Moran added.