FUTURE OF THE WINDFARM INDUSTRY
It was an inspiring two days at the IWEA Spring Conference 2019. We were particularly encouraged by the speakers who spoke clearly about some of the great opportunities that face our sector. Here are some of the key opportunities we took away from the event
One of the event highlights was the session chaired by Garry Connolly regarding opportunities in renewables towards 2030. Here are three of the major trends identified, that offer windfarm owners a reason to be optimistic for the growth of the industry out until 2030:
- New turbine technology centred on big data that will act as smart machines, self-correcting and therefore reducing maintenance costs
- The continuing transition from privately owned windfarms to more public windfarm ownership from pension funds and publicly quoted companies
- The inexorable shift to electrification of heat and transport
Off Shore Opportunities
Offshore was a particular area of focus on Day Two. It was exciting to hear Eamon Ryan speak of the opportunity for Ireland to try to regain the position we had fifteen years ago as a world leader for offshore wind.
“We should lead out the offshore grid initiative . There is a huge export opportunity here. We need 5GW in the Irish sea and 15GW in the rest of our waters”
At the conference it was brought up that in addition to climate change, we also have an opportunity to emphasise on the health benefits to drive acceptance. The case last year in New Ross highlights the opportunity for our industry to communicate about our role in clean air and national health.
Hildegard Naughton, chair of the Oireachtas committee on climate action, spoke of the governments support for the 70% renewable electricity by 2030 target. This indicates it is more likely to be part of government action plan which will make it more likely that this target will be achieved and growth of our industry will be supported at governmental level.
Overall, there are plenty of us to feel optimistic about the future. While there are a lot of pressures on prices and challenges over the next number of years, there is also a lot to look forward to!