New Bill to help Ireland meet its renewable energy targets

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New legislation will encourage offshore energy creation and help Ireland meet its renewable energy targets, a Galway TD has said.

Deputy Hildegarde Naughton said the Government’s approval of a revised General Scheme of the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill 2019 will boost the development of the offshore renewable energy sector.

Deputy Naughton explained: “This legislation will bring about major reform of Ireland’s marine spatial and consent planning system and will modernise and streamline the process for approving maritime infrastructure projects, including offshore renewable energy.

“The Climate Action Committee’s report indicated that progressing new marine planning legislation was vital to encourage offshore energy creation and thus meet our renewable energy targets.”

The Bill seeks to establish in law a new marine planning system, which consists of a development management regime from the high water mark to the outer limit of the State’s continental shelf administered by An Bord Pleanála and the coastal local authorities.

This new regime will replace existing State and development consent regimes and streamline arrangements on the basis of a single consent principle.

Deputy Naughton continued: “The new single consent principle is designed to remove unnecessary duplication and provide greater certainty on the timeframes for decisions on development consent, thereby facilitating delivery of badly needed public infrastructure.

“It will also play a critical role in the harnessing of the potential of our offshore renewable energy resources and the transition towards a sustainable, secure and competitive energy system and in meeting our climate change goals.

“The present legislation is piecemeal and rife with delays and anomalies. We need modern legislation in this area and so the proposal for a single consent regime is very welcome.”