17 April 2024

Offshore Wind in Northern Ireland - Update

Written by Neasa Quigley

The Department for Economy provided an update on 16 April 2024 on the progress for Offshore Wind development in Northern Ireland.

What has happened so far?

What are the next steps?

The Minister recently launched the Energy Strategy Action Plan 2024 which outlines 21 actions from priority areas across government to continue the progression towards the objectives of the Energy Strategy. One of those actions is to identify areas for potential development of offshore renewable energy for Northern Ireland in the form of tidal and fixed and floating wind. This will form part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment (SEA/HRA) for offshore renewable energy in the NI Marine Area. The SEA/HRA will also enable plans for potential leasing areas to be developed through ongoing Steering Group collaboration, and an updated OREAP to be published confirming actions moving forward towards delivery of the target for 1GW of offshore renewable energy from 2030. The Department indicated that the draft SEA and HRA would be published for consultation “soon” and in advance of the updated OREAP being available however the Department emphasised that the OREAP is intended to be a “live” document that is monitored and reviewed through annual reports with flexibility to be updated at regular intervals based on the progress of implementation and as new evidence becomes available.

Another key action in the Energy Strategy Action Plan 2024 is the publication of a new regional strategic planning policy on renewable and low carbon energy. No indication was given by the Department as to the timing of this publication. Planning (along with grid infrastructure) is one of the key drivers to the deliverability of renewables project so the early publication of this policy will be key to meeting the 2030 targets.

If you would like any further information or advice, please contact Neasa Quigley from our Energy team.

*This information is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute, nor should be regarded, as a substitute for taking legal advice that is tailored to your circumstances.

About the author

Neasa Quigley


Neasa Quigley is Senior Partner at Carson McDowell and head of the firm’s Energy team. Neasa has over 26 years’ experience as a corporate lawyer, specialising in the energy and technology sectors.