Killybegs Harbour has the potential to be used for the construction of giant offshore wind farms.
That’s according to a new National Ports Study published today by Wind Energy Ireland at its Annual Offshore Wind Energy Conference in Dublin.
However, the report found that only a single port on the island of Ireland, Belfast Harbour, is ready for such use.
The study, produced by Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions, is the most detailed analysis ever carried out of the readiness of Irish ports for the development of Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE).
It contains a thorough examination of the existing infrastructure available at 13 ports and harbours, including Killybegs, on the island and their plans for expansion to meet the needs of offshore wind.
“Another fishing location, Killybegs has a skilled local workforce, and there is potential for locations such as this to harness the existing skillset for the offshore wind sector,” the report noted.
“Killybegs lacks the required laydown areas and heavy lift capacity at the quayside, but has potential to serve the floating market with certain upgrades. The site benefits from natural deep water in relative proximity to the harbour, in addition to the relative proximity to the northwest coast projects (and potentially future Northern Irish projects).”
It was noted that a memorandum of understanding between Sinbad Marine Service Ltd and Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) with Hexicon was signed in June 2022.
“This signals an understanding of the potential of the port to support floating activities in addition to the appetite of the existing supply chain to serve the ORE industry.”
The report’s authors concluded Killybegs currently would ‘struggle’ to serve as a manufacturing/staging port for potential offshore wind projects (fixed and floating).
However, it does have natural deep water in proximity to the quay and relatively significant quay lengths are strong attributes, particularly when considering floating wind requirements.
“Focused development providing heavy lift quayside and additional laydown area with suitable bearing capacity would allow for significant staging/marshalling activities to be undertaken from Killybegs,” they added.
“The harbour benefits from having a strong existing skilled workforce, in addition to a fishing fleet which is dormant for large portions of the year due to quota restrictions.
“There is an opportunity to leverage the existing skillset within Killybegs to serve the offshore wind industry, with recently emerging offshore clusters indicating the appetite of the location to become involved in the industry.
“Killybegs is well situated to service offshore renewable sites along the west and north-west coast.”
The report was co-funded by a number of Wind Energy Ireland members: Belfast Harbour, DP Energy, ESB, Inis Offshore Wind, Ocean Winds, Ørsted, Source Energie and RWE.