German energy company RWE has announced that it will invest €1.5 billion in Irish renewable energy over the next eight years, as part of a wider international investment of €50 billion.

The investment will focus on Irish offshore wind as well as the development of a new pilot programme for airborne wind technology. RWE has already been running operations in onshore wind in Co. Kerry, as well as battery storage in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.

Under the investment, the company plans to continue the development of the Dublin Array offshore wind project, which will see up to 61 wind turbines located off the coast of Kish and Bray.

When fully operational, these turbines will generate between 600 to 900 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity.

Funding will also be directed to continue development on an airborne wind-technology pilot programme at its Bangor Erris plant in Co. Mayo.

Renewable energy transition

Under the Climate Action Plan, Ireland must reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 51% with a 22-30% reduction in the agricultural sector by 2030. This investment announced will be active until this target date, and will help Ireland to achieve its further goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, according to RWE.

Commenting on the announcement, RWE’s country chairperson for Ireland, Cathal Henessy, said:

“Renewable energy can help Ireland meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets and will also play a key role in delivering energy security for the Irish economy.”

Hennessy said that the company has the ‘know how’ to support the Irish government in transitioning to an 80% renewable energy generation by 2030.

However, he added that this target is unachievable without the right frameworks in place.

“This will only happen if the correct policy frameworks are in place and adequate resources are available within key areas such as planning and energy provision,” he said.

According to Hennessy, Ireland must implement a system of faster planning decisions and clearer policies if these targets are to be delivered.