Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Doyle Shipping Group withdraw from Cork Harbour offshore wind plan

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Plans to redevelop the dockyard facility in Cork Harbour to service offshore wind projects have been axed.

Family-owned logistics firm, Doyle Shipping Group (DSG) had plans to redevelop the former Verolme dockyard near Cobh as a port infrastructure hub for developers of offshore renewable energy (ORE) projects. The multi-million euro development was labelled the Cork Dockyard Rejuvenation Project (CDR).

The 15-hectare Cork Dockyard site was earmarked to provide new berths and a large open area suitable for the temporary storage of wind turbine components before their installation offshore.

However, speaking in the Dáil last week, East Cork TD David Stanton said he was “taken aback” that the Doyle Shipping Group had “withdrawn from any involvement in offshore renewable energy for its own very understandable reasons”. 

“Perhaps it will change its mind eventually but it has withdrawn.” 

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Ireland has a target of 37GW of offshore wind by 2050 so there is an urgency to complete major infrastructure projects as Ireland aims to utilise offshore wind power to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

The Port of Cork company holds planning permission to build the infrastructure for offshore wind by extending facilities at Ringaskiddy, but this planning expires at the end of next year.

Mr Stanton said the decision by DSG to withdraw their plans leaves the Port of Cork to “stand alone”.

“The problem is that the port may not get permission again. If it does not start work by the end of this year, it will not happen,” he said.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer of the Port of Cork Company said this planning deadline adds further pressure, with the company now relying on the commercial sector to secure funding. 

“We are disappointed that Doyle Shipping Group pulled out at this stage. A joint offering between us would have made Cork Harbour hugely attractive for offshore wind. However, it is absolutely understandable given the uncertainty in the market.”

Mr Mowlds warned the Port of Cork now faces a €70m funding gap as it seeks to develop its own offshore wind infrastructure.

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