Ireland is among an elite group of European countries to agree a new 2050 offshore wind target of 260 gigawatt (GW).

Members of the North Sea Energy Cooperation group - which includes Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway - say the non-binding goal will see 76GW of offshore wind online by 2030, 193GW online by 2040 and 260GW online by 2050.

The agreement was announced following a meeting of the group hosted by Minister Eamon Ryan in Dublin this week. This will represent more than 85% of the EU-wide ambition of reaching 300GW by 2050.

Speaking on the agreement, Minister Ryan said: “In Ireland alone, our sea area is seven times our landmass. When it comes to realising the potential of offshore wind, again, it is best that we work in unity, that we set agreed targets and that we operate as a collective.”

Irish offshore auction

Ireland is due to hold its first offshore renewable project auction next April, where developers of offshore wind farms will bid for Government support. The results are expected to be provisionally announced in May.

In July, the Government increased Ireland’s offshore wind target for 2030 from 5GW to 7GW after reaching an agreement on sectoral emissions ceilings.

An emissions reduction target of 75% by 2030 was set for the energy sector.