The government is prioritising industry-funded offshore wind and wave energy projects over its international commitments on marine protected areas, an environmental group has said. The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) questioned why legislation was already advanced on designating marine areas for renewable energy production, but not on creating promised marine protected areas (MPAs). Regina Classen, IWT project officer, said: “Our fear is that wind farms will be approved offshore, and MPAs then fitted in between.” Under the government’s climate action plan 70 per cent of Ireland’s electricity will be generated from renewable energy by 2030 and at least 3,500 megawatts of this will come from offshore wind. Yesterday Simon Coveney, the foreign minister, welcomed Shell’s return to the Irish energy market through offshore energy. The multinational, which developed the controversial Corrib gas project in Mayo, has acquired a 51 per cent stake in the Irish company Simply Blue Energy’s floating wind farm in the Celtic Sea.
Times 28th Jan 2021 read more »