Geoscience Ireland (GI) held its first workshop of 2020 in the Irish Management Institute on the 13th of February. The thematic workshop focussed on Offshore Renewable Energy Development; Ireland has an abundant offshore wind energy resource and its evolving policy landscape should lend itself to significant growth in the sector. Geoscience Ireland member companies are representative of a strong value chain which includes site selection, planning and environment, geotechnical engineering and drilling.
The programme of the workshop was designed to showcase government policy from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the freely available data as acquired by Geological Survey Ireland (GSI), the perspective from offshore renewable energy developers and the service offer of GI member companies. Speakers at the workshop included Sean Cullen of GSI's INFOMAR programme, Dr Aoife Brady of iCRAG: the Irish Centre for Research in the Applied Geosciences, Garett Connell of Parkwind and Paul Doherty of Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions.
Dr Deidre Lewis, Technical Director at SLR Consulting, delivered a workshop on social license to operate (SLO) and participants offered project experiences from natural resource development to civil engineering projects. Dr Lewis reviewed international best practice, policy frameworks and academic insights relating to SLO and how developers and stakeholders must engage early with the host community and develop trust and credibility therein.
The session closed with a panel discussion relating to the experiences of SLR Consulting, ByrneLooby, Parkwind and Fehily Timoney in accessing overseas markets. Some key learnings here included tracking and competing for the type of work which will sustain a market presence, and to invest in your overseas ambition during periods of growth and not to wait until loss of business before you diversify.