Irish offshore: "It's time for deliverability"

“The opportunity to be at the beginning of an industry in my home country Ireland was too great a chance to miss.”

Robert Malthouse
December 9, 2021
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This content is from our archive. Some formatting or links may be broken.
Irish offshore: "It's time for deliverability"

“The opportunity to be at the beginning of an industry in my home country Ireland was too great a chance to miss.”

Vanessa O’Connell is explaining why she quit as head of asset management for the 1.2GW Hornsea 1 at Ørsted to lead the recently founded Inis Offshore Wind as its chief executive. The size difference could scarcely be starker.

Hornsea 1 is currently the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, whereas Ireland only has one offshore wind farm in its waters: the 25.2MW Arklow Bank, which was completed in 2004. But O’Connell says she expects huge growth in offshore wind in Ireland in the next decade.

This enthusiasm is driven by the Irish government’s latest Climate Action Plan, which sets an objective to generate 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, up from its previous target of 55%. The figure is currently around 40%. But it is the target of 5GW offshore wind by 2030 that is exciting investors.

We caught up with O’Connell and Austin Coughlan, head of Temporis Capital's Aurora Fund and co-founder and director of Inis Offshore Wind, to find out more about their plans and the potential expansion of offshore wind in Ireland.

Coughlan says Temporis set up Inis “to support the growth and development of the offshore wind industry [in Ireland]” given it is still at such an early stage.

Inis is owned by impact investor Temporis Capital, which has raised €2bn-€3bn over the past 11 years and invested in over 100 projects in a range of asset classes, such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro. Temporis set up Inis in 2020.

Inis in Ireland

Coughlan said the focus on Ireland isn’t simply due to the “Irish DNA” of Inis. He said it made good sense given significant government climate plans and attractive market conditions, as well as the windy conditions. But he added that the company may look to enter other European markets and isn’t ruling out entering the US or Asia either.

Funded through Temporis Capital's Aurora Fund, Inis is aiming for at least 1GW of offshore capacity by 2030. It has five projects currently in early-stage development scattered around the coast of Ireland: two on the east, two on the west, and one on the south.

O’Connell said this would require a mix of foundation technologies: “Typically, what you’re seeing on the east, and somewhat on the south, is that projects are assuming fixed-base foundations. Whereas looking to the west you will see floating. But for us, we’re assuming fixed-base jackets all around for now,” she said. O’Connell said this would remain the most competitive choice until 2030.

She also said that the fact Inis is backed by the Ireland Strategy Investment Fund, which is the cornerstone investor of the Aurora Fund, means that “any success Inis has directly translates back to the ISIF, which is effectively the Irish people”. This is important given that Inis is currently in early-stage consultation for its developments.

Next steps

None of this growth would be possible without government support. O’Connell says it is good that the government’s Maritime Area Planning bill is currently going through the Irish parliament and could be in place before the end of this year. This promises to remove regulatory and administrative challenges currently faced by developers.

The government has also committed to run two competitive offshore wind tenders by 2025 using two-sided Contracts for Difference as a revenue stabilisation mechanism, which could offer developers a route to market. O’Connell says this is important as Ireland is coming “a bit late to the game” on offshore wind due to its historic focus on onshore wind, which makes up 38% of the electricity mix in the Republic of Ireland.

She adds that investment is needed to “resource up [Ireland’s] government departments and regulators, as well as environmental agencies – not just with capital but people with the right competencies”; and to develop the local supply chain.

Finally, she says the country must speed up the buildout of the Irish grid – onshore and offshore – which is being led by state operator Eirgrid. Ambitions are great, but “it’s now time for deliverability and that can only happen if we all work together”.

“The opportunity to be at the beginning of an industry in my home country Ireland was too great a chance to miss.”

Vanessa O’Connell is explaining why she quit as head of asset management for the 1.2GW Hornsea 1 at Ørsted to lead the recently founded Inis Offshore Wind as its chief executive. The size difference could scarcely be starker.

Hornsea 1 is currently the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, whereas Ireland only has one offshore wind farm in its waters: the 25.2MW Arklow Bank, which was completed in 2004. But O’Connell says she expects huge growth in offshore wind in Ireland in the next decade.

This enthusiasm is driven by the Irish government’s latest Climate Action Plan, which sets an objective to generate 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, up from its previous target of 55%. The figure is currently around 40%. But it is the target of 5GW offshore wind by 2030 that is exciting investors.

We caught up with O’Connell and Austin Coughlan, head of Temporis Capital's Aurora Fund and co-founder and director of Inis Offshore Wind, to find out more about their plans and the potential expansion of offshore wind in Ireland.

Coughlan says Temporis set up Inis “to support the growth and development of the offshore wind industry [in Ireland]” given it is still at such an early stage.

Inis is owned by impact investor Temporis Capital, which has raised €2bn-€3bn over the past 11 years and invested in over 100 projects in a range of asset classes, such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro. Temporis set up Inis in 2020.

Inis in Ireland

Coughlan said the focus on Ireland isn’t simply due to the “Irish DNA” of Inis. He said it made good sense given significant government climate plans and attractive market conditions, as well as the windy conditions. But he added that the company may look to enter other European markets and isn’t ruling out entering the US or Asia either.

Funded through Temporis Capital's Aurora Fund, Inis is aiming for at least 1GW of offshore capacity by 2030. It has five projects currently in early-stage development scattered around the coast of Ireland: two on the east, two on the west, and one on the south.

O’Connell said this would require a mix of foundation technologies: “Typically, what you’re seeing on the east, and somewhat on the south, is that projects are assuming fixed-base foundations. Whereas looking to the west you will see floating. But for us, we’re assuming fixed-base jackets all around for now,” she said. O’Connell said this would remain the most competitive choice until 2030.

She also said that the fact Inis is backed by the Ireland Strategy Investment Fund, which is the cornerstone investor of the Aurora Fund, means that “any success Inis has directly translates back to the ISIF, which is effectively the Irish people”. This is important given that Inis is currently in early-stage consultation for its developments.

Next steps

None of this growth would be possible without government support. O’Connell says it is good that the government’s Maritime Area Planning bill is currently going through the Irish parliament and could be in place before the end of this year. This promises to remove regulatory and administrative challenges currently faced by developers.

The government has also committed to run two competitive offshore wind tenders by 2025 using two-sided Contracts for Difference as a revenue stabilisation mechanism, which could offer developers a route to market. O’Connell says this is important as Ireland is coming “a bit late to the game” on offshore wind due to its historic focus on onshore wind, which makes up 38% of the electricity mix in the Republic of Ireland.

She adds that investment is needed to “resource up [Ireland’s] government departments and regulators, as well as environmental agencies – not just with capital but people with the right competencies”; and to develop the local supply chain.

Finally, she says the country must speed up the buildout of the Irish grid – onshore and offshore – which is being led by state operator Eirgrid. Ambitions are great, but “it’s now time for deliverability and that can only happen if we all work together”.

“The opportunity to be at the beginning of an industry in my home country Ireland was too great a chance to miss.”

Vanessa O’Connell is explaining why she quit as head of asset management for the 1.2GW Hornsea 1 at Ørsted to lead the recently founded Inis Offshore Wind as its chief executive. The size difference could scarcely be starker.

Hornsea 1 is currently the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, whereas Ireland only has one offshore wind farm in its waters: the 25.2MW Arklow Bank, which was completed in 2004. But O’Connell says she expects huge growth in offshore wind in Ireland in the next decade.

This enthusiasm is driven by the Irish government’s latest Climate Action Plan, which sets an objective to generate 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, up from its previous target of 55%. The figure is currently around 40%. But it is the target of 5GW offshore wind by 2030 that is exciting investors.

We caught up with O’Connell and Austin Coughlan, head of Temporis Capital's Aurora Fund and co-founder and director of Inis Offshore Wind, to find out more about their plans and the potential expansion of offshore wind in Ireland.

Coughlan says Temporis set up Inis “to support the growth and development of the offshore wind industry [in Ireland]” given it is still at such an early stage.

Inis is owned by impact investor Temporis Capital, which has raised €2bn-€3bn over the past 11 years and invested in over 100 projects in a range of asset classes, such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro. Temporis set up Inis in 2020.

Inis in Ireland

Coughlan said the focus on Ireland isn’t simply due to the “Irish DNA” of Inis. He said it made good sense given significant government climate plans and attractive market conditions, as well as the windy conditions. But he added that the company may look to enter other European markets and isn’t ruling out entering the US or Asia either.

Funded through Temporis Capital's Aurora Fund, Inis is aiming for at least 1GW of offshore capacity by 2030. It has five projects currently in early-stage development scattered around the coast of Ireland: two on the east, two on the west, and one on the south.

O’Connell said this would require a mix of foundation technologies: “Typically, what you’re seeing on the east, and somewhat on the south, is that projects are assuming fixed-base foundations. Whereas looking to the west you will see floating. But for us, we’re assuming fixed-base jackets all around for now,” she said. O’Connell said this would remain the most competitive choice until 2030.

She also said that the fact Inis is backed by the Ireland Strategy Investment Fund, which is the cornerstone investor of the Aurora Fund, means that “any success Inis has directly translates back to the ISIF, which is effectively the Irish people”. This is important given that Inis is currently in early-stage consultation for its developments.

Next steps

None of this growth would be possible without government support. O’Connell says it is good that the government’s Maritime Area Planning bill is currently going through the Irish parliament and could be in place before the end of this year. This promises to remove regulatory and administrative challenges currently faced by developers.

The government has also committed to run two competitive offshore wind tenders by 2025 using two-sided Contracts for Difference as a revenue stabilisation mechanism, which could offer developers a route to market. O’Connell says this is important as Ireland is coming “a bit late to the game” on offshore wind due to its historic focus on onshore wind, which makes up 38% of the electricity mix in the Republic of Ireland.

She adds that investment is needed to “resource up [Ireland’s] government departments and regulators, as well as environmental agencies – not just with capital but people with the right competencies”; and to develop the local supply chain.

Finally, she says the country must speed up the buildout of the Irish grid – onshore and offshore – which is being led by state operator Eirgrid. Ambitions are great, but “it’s now time for deliverability and that can only happen if we all work together”.

“The opportunity to be at the beginning of an industry in my home country Ireland was too great a chance to miss.”

Vanessa O’Connell is explaining why she quit as head of asset management for the 1.2GW Hornsea 1 at Ørsted to lead the recently founded Inis Offshore Wind as its chief executive. The size difference could scarcely be starker.

Hornsea 1 is currently the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, whereas Ireland only has one offshore wind farm in its waters: the 25.2MW Arklow Bank, which was completed in 2004. But O’Connell says she expects huge growth in offshore wind in Ireland in the next decade.

This enthusiasm is driven by the Irish government’s latest Climate Action Plan, which sets an objective to generate 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, up from its previous target of 55%. The figure is currently around 40%. But it is the target of 5GW offshore wind by 2030 that is exciting investors.

We caught up with O’Connell and Austin Coughlan, head of Temporis Capital's Aurora Fund and co-founder and director of Inis Offshore Wind, to find out more about their plans and the potential expansion of offshore wind in Ireland.

Coughlan says Temporis set up Inis “to support the growth and development of the offshore wind industry [in Ireland]” given it is still at such an early stage.

Inis is owned by impact investor Temporis Capital, which has raised €2bn-€3bn over the past 11 years and invested in over 100 projects in a range of asset classes, such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro. Temporis set up Inis in 2020.

Inis in Ireland

Coughlan said the focus on Ireland isn’t simply due to the “Irish DNA” of Inis. He said it made good sense given significant government climate plans and attractive market conditions, as well as the windy conditions. But he added that the company may look to enter other European markets and isn’t ruling out entering the US or Asia either.

Funded through Temporis Capital's Aurora Fund, Inis is aiming for at least 1GW of offshore capacity by 2030. It has five projects currently in early-stage development scattered around the coast of Ireland: two on the east, two on the west, and one on the south.

O’Connell said this would require a mix of foundation technologies: “Typically, what you’re seeing on the east, and somewhat on the south, is that projects are assuming fixed-base foundations. Whereas looking to the west you will see floating. But for us, we’re assuming fixed-base jackets all around for now,” she said. O’Connell said this would remain the most competitive choice until 2030.

She also said that the fact Inis is backed by the Ireland Strategy Investment Fund, which is the cornerstone investor of the Aurora Fund, means that “any success Inis has directly translates back to the ISIF, which is effectively the Irish people”. This is important given that Inis is currently in early-stage consultation for its developments.

Next steps

None of this growth would be possible without government support. O’Connell says it is good that the government’s Maritime Area Planning bill is currently going through the Irish parliament and could be in place before the end of this year. This promises to remove regulatory and administrative challenges currently faced by developers.

The government has also committed to run two competitive offshore wind tenders by 2025 using two-sided Contracts for Difference as a revenue stabilisation mechanism, which could offer developers a route to market. O’Connell says this is important as Ireland is coming “a bit late to the game” on offshore wind due to its historic focus on onshore wind, which makes up 38% of the electricity mix in the Republic of Ireland.

She adds that investment is needed to “resource up [Ireland’s] government departments and regulators, as well as environmental agencies – not just with capital but people with the right competencies”; and to develop the local supply chain.

Finally, she says the country must speed up the buildout of the Irish grid – onshore and offshore – which is being led by state operator Eirgrid. Ambitions are great, but “it’s now time for deliverability and that can only happen if we all work together”.

“The opportunity to be at the beginning of an industry in my home country Ireland was too great a chance to miss.”

Vanessa O’Connell is explaining why she quit as head of asset management for the 1.2GW Hornsea 1 at Ørsted to lead the recently founded Inis Offshore Wind as its chief executive. The size difference could scarcely be starker.

Hornsea 1 is currently the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, whereas Ireland only has one offshore wind farm in its waters: the 25.2MW Arklow Bank, which was completed in 2004. But O’Connell says she expects huge growth in offshore wind in Ireland in the next decade.

This enthusiasm is driven by the Irish government’s latest Climate Action Plan, which sets an objective to generate 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, up from its previous target of 55%. The figure is currently around 40%. But it is the target of 5GW offshore wind by 2030 that is exciting investors.

We caught up with O’Connell and Austin Coughlan, head of Temporis Capital's Aurora Fund and co-founder and director of Inis Offshore Wind, to find out more about their plans and the potential expansion of offshore wind in Ireland.

Coughlan says Temporis set up Inis “to support the growth and development of the offshore wind industry [in Ireland]” given it is still at such an early stage.

Inis is owned by impact investor Temporis Capital, which has raised €2bn-€3bn over the past 11 years and invested in over 100 projects in a range of asset classes, such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro. Temporis set up Inis in 2020.

Inis in Ireland

Coughlan said the focus on Ireland isn’t simply due to the “Irish DNA” of Inis. He said it made good sense given significant government climate plans and attractive market conditions, as well as the windy conditions. But he added that the company may look to enter other European markets and isn’t ruling out entering the US or Asia either.

Funded through Temporis Capital's Aurora Fund, Inis is aiming for at least 1GW of offshore capacity by 2030. It has five projects currently in early-stage development scattered around the coast of Ireland: two on the east, two on the west, and one on the south.

O’Connell said this would require a mix of foundation technologies: “Typically, what you’re seeing on the east, and somewhat on the south, is that projects are assuming fixed-base foundations. Whereas looking to the west you will see floating. But for us, we’re assuming fixed-base jackets all around for now,” she said. O’Connell said this would remain the most competitive choice until 2030.

She also said that the fact Inis is backed by the Ireland Strategy Investment Fund, which is the cornerstone investor of the Aurora Fund, means that “any success Inis has directly translates back to the ISIF, which is effectively the Irish people”. This is important given that Inis is currently in early-stage consultation for its developments.

Next steps

None of this growth would be possible without government support. O’Connell says it is good that the government’s Maritime Area Planning bill is currently going through the Irish parliament and could be in place before the end of this year. This promises to remove regulatory and administrative challenges currently faced by developers.

The government has also committed to run two competitive offshore wind tenders by 2025 using two-sided Contracts for Difference as a revenue stabilisation mechanism, which could offer developers a route to market. O’Connell says this is important as Ireland is coming “a bit late to the game” on offshore wind due to its historic focus on onshore wind, which makes up 38% of the electricity mix in the Republic of Ireland.

She adds that investment is needed to “resource up [Ireland’s] government departments and regulators, as well as environmental agencies – not just with capital but people with the right competencies”; and to develop the local supply chain.

Finally, she says the country must speed up the buildout of the Irish grid – onshore and offshore – which is being led by state operator Eirgrid. Ambitions are great, but “it’s now time for deliverability and that can only happen if we all work together”.

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Full archive access is available to members only

Not a member yet?

Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.