Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Sceirde Rocks Windfarm have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formally collaborate and further strengthen their ongoing working relationship.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the Third Enterprise Ireland Offshore Wind Forum 2023 in Croke Park, Dublin which was opened by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney T.D.
The MoU follows on from Sceirde Rocks Windfarm securing a contract in the Government of Ireland’s first Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS1) auction. Údarás Na Gaeltachta launched its strategic plan in 2021 that includes initiatives relating to climate change, the green economy, the blue economy and the social economy.
In line with Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021 – 2025, the MoU will look to ensure that the Sceirde Rocks project brings investment, economic development and job opportunities to the Connemara region. Work on the development of the Sceirde Rocks project has already resulted in €1 million of local investment.
Under their agreement, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Sceirde Rocks Windfarm have agreed to:
- Establish and support education and training initiatives within the Gaeltacht region to provide a skilled workforce to support the deployment of offshore wind projects.
- To investigate the roles and responsibilities of the ORESS1 Community Benefit Fund administrator
- Jointly and collectively pursue the delivery of an operations and maintenance base for the project at Ros An Mhíl in the Connemara Gaeltacht
Speaking at the event, Minister Coveney welcomed the signing of the MOU agreement.
“It is very positive to see the State sector in the shape of Údarás na Gaeltachta working closely with private sector companies such as Corio Generation and I’m glad to see that a MOU will be signed later this morning to formally collaborate and strengthen their ongoing relationship. The Sceirde Rocks project has the potential to be the largest ever infrastructural investment in Connemara and can deliver new green economy jobs to the region, as well as a very significant community benefit. Today’s MOU will bring benefits to both Údarás na Gaeltachta and Corio, and to the local Connemara community.”
Speaking at the signing, Tomás Ó Síocháin, Chief Executive Officer for Údarás na Gaeltachta stated:
” We welcome the development of the renewable energy sector in the Conamara Gaeltacht, a sector which will be extremely important to the west of Ireland in the coming years. We want to ensure that the Gaeltacht community can achieve the maximum benefit from the employment and economic opportunities the development of the industry will bring. This Memorandum of Understanding between Údarás na Gaeltachta and Corio ensures that both parties can gain an understanding of the necessary infrastructure and skills requirements, in order to optimise the value of the offshore wind sector to the local community. We will work together to so that the development of renewable energy in Conamara can benefit the community in every way.”
Séamus McCabe, Senior Development Director for Corio Generation added:
“Rural areas of Ireland support a range of enterprises, and remote coastal communities are faced with challenges around infrastructure, and climate change, as well as generational renewal. It is vital that we invest in the next generation and offshore wind offers the prospect of rewarding careers in Connemara. By collaborating with Údarás na Gaeltachta, we hope to equip young people across our communities with the skills and knowledge they need to take up the jobs that renewable energy investment will create.”
About the Sceirde Rocks project
In May 2023, Ireland’s energy grid operator EirGrid and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications confirmed that Sceirde Rocks was one of four wind farms that were successful under the country’s first Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 1). The four projects will be able to provide more than 3 GW of power.
The 450 MW Sceirde Rocks project will generate clean, green, reliable energy, providing enough reliable and affordable energy to support over 350,000 homes nationally. The development supports Ireland’s commitments under the Climate Action Plan 2022. The project will provide long-term local job opportunities, economic development and business opportunities.
Sceirde Rocks is being developed by Corio Generation, a portfolio company of Macquarie Asset Management’s Green Investment Group, through the Irish and Gaeltacht based
company Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta (FST). FST is a joint venture owned by Corio and global infrastructure investor Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
About Údarás na Gaeltachta
The overall objective of Údarás na Gaeltachta is to ensure that Irish remains the main communal language of the Gaeltacht and is passed on to future generations.
The Údarás endeavours to achieve that objective by funding and fostering a wide range of enterprise development and job creation initiatives and by supporting strategic language, cultural and community-based activities.
Established in 1980, Údarás na Gaeltachta is the regional authority responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of the Gaeltacht.
Relevant Links (for reference)
Sceirde Rocks: https://www.sceirderockswindfarm.ie/project-info/
UnaG Strategy Strategy Documents | Publications | About | Údarás na Gaeltachta (ideas.ie)
EI Offshore Wind forum: Offshore Wind Agenda (eventsforce.net)
Irish Government: gov.ie – Our Rural Future: Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 (www.gov.ie)
An Ghaeltacht Ghlas: Best Practices & Opportunities from the Gaeltacht Regarding the Green Economy, An Cheathrú Rua | News | Údarás na Gaeltachta (udaras.ie)