Fine Gael’s Colm Markey has said that investing in Irish ports can help reduce emissions, foster job creation, and drive down electricity costs for consumers.
The Midlands-North-West MEP added that billions could be generated for the Irish economy through the development of offshore wind facilities.
MEP Markey has welcomed the European Parliament’s call on Wednesday (January 17th) for a comprehensive European port strategy.
He commented, “Unlocking the full potential of the offshore wind sector in Ireland requires significant investment in our ports. Ports not only facilitate the construction of offshore wind farms but also function as operational and maintenance hubs. Getting offshore wind developments off the ground will lead to reduced emissions, the generation of thousands of jobs, financial benefits from exporting excess energy, and ultimately, a drop in cost of electricity for Irish consumers.”
The report on building a comprehensive European port strategy was passed by a large majority of MEPs in Strasbourg.
It urges the European Commission to address the need for fast-track permitting of port expansions in the context of the energy transition.
Markey warned that Ireland may fall short of achieving a goal of 5GW of offshore wind energy projects by 2030, unless key challenges are addressed.
“Ambitious plans to provide 80% of electricity from renewables by 2030 may end in failure if we don’t overcome a number of hurdles. It is imperative that we address complex regulatory and planning procedures, redevelop the national grid and invest in our ports. Quite simply, a lot more effort is required to turn aspiration into delivery,” he continued.
MEP Markey also welcomed the recent deal to include energy ports in the trans-European transport network policy (TEN-T).
“I welcome last month’s deal between the Parliament and Council, recognising the role ports can play in the energy transition. Up until now, a port’s position in the TEN-T network was only assessed on the basis of tonnage. I’ve long argued that energy capacity should also be taken into account and was delighted that common sense prevailed in the end. With Galway Port now included in the TEN-T network, there’s no reason why other ports can’t follow suit and access crucial EU funding.” Markey concluded.