New maritime area consent regime for renewable energy developments comes into effect
The new maritime area consent (MAC) regime for renewable energy developments has come into effect, with the first consents expected to be issued to developers in the second half of 2022.
The new regime enables the minister for the environment to issue MACs on an interim basis pending the establishment of the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA) in early 2023.
Developers must have a MAC to make an application for permission, to include environmental assessments, to An Bord Pleanála.
Under the interim measures in the Maritime Area Planning Act 2021, the minister can assess the first batch of MAC applications from a set of seven qualified offshore renewable energy (ORE) projects:
- Oriel Wind Park
- RWE (previously Innogy Renewables), (2 projects – Bray and Kish Banks)
- Codling Wind Park (2 projects – Codling I and Codling II)
- Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta (Skerd Rocks)
- North Irish Sea Array Ltd (North Irish Sea Array)
Environment minister Eamon Ryan said: “Never has it been more vital that we use our vast offshore wind resource to create renewable energy and ensure the security of our own energy supply.
“The development of our offshore wind energy capacity will lessen, and eventually eradicate our dependence on imported fossil fuels, and bring an unprecedented reduction in CO2 emissions for a climate neutral future.
“Today marks a tangible milestone in our journey towards 80 per cent renewable electricity by 2030, as set out in the climate action plan. The door is now open for a number of developers to progress their offshore wind energy projects. We are seizing this opportunity to shape our own future, and move closer to energy independence.”