Can you imagine a non-fossil fuelled world that is solely powered by renewable energy? And can you imagine this mission being led from Cork?
This is the overall goal of DP Energy, the Cork-based company that develops large scale renewable energy projects worldwide using only energy from the sun (wind, solar and wave energy) and ocean energy and tidal from gravity influenced by the moon.
DP Energy is a family company, led by co-founders Maureen De Pietro and Simon De Pietro, a mother and son partnership, who have been developing wind energy projects for over 30 years with the fundamental belief that renewables are both necessary, and inevitable, for a better world but also that they must be delivered by applying the most environmentally responsible methods with as little impact as possible on the other species that share this planet.
DP Energy is headquartered in Buttevant in North Cork, where DP’s Irish onshore team is located, whilst its Irish offshore team is located next to the water (appropriately) at Horgan’s Quay, Cork city.
The business employs a team of highly experienced engineers, marine scientists, planning experts, project managers, environmental managers and financial, legal and technical experts.
The company is a proud member of Wind Energy Ireland (WEI), the renamed Irish Wind Energy Association of which Maureen was a key member of the Council as early as 1993 in the infancy of the wind industry in Ireland. Simon has been co-president of Ocean Energy Europe for over 10 years. Both Maureen and Simon see reliance on wind and the ocean as vital for Ireland’s future energy supply.
DP Energy delivered its first wind farm projects in Tyrone in 1993 and in Leitrim in 1996 and ,since then, has delivered multiple projects across Ireland (including Cork) and the UK as well as further afield in Australia and Canada.
To date, the company has developed over 1GW (1000 MW) of renewable energy projects, the majority of which are already built and operational, and has a further 750MW at late stage of development scheduled to enter construction in 2023/24.
Beyond that DP Energy has an immediate pipeline of 7GW of renewable projects including here in Ireland, and is still exploring new markets. These projects variously range from GW+ scale Offshore Wind projects and multi 100+ MW onshore wind and solar projects, to medium scale solar behind the meter (not exported to the national grid) and even smaller scale solar projects supporting communities including its local Buttevant 5MW community solar project.
In Ireland, DP Energy continues to develop further onshore wind and solar with battery storage, but its biggest news is around Offshore Wind. Since 2015 DP Energy has been moving further into offshore wind as a natural progression from both its onshore and ocean energy experience.
Offshore wind now forms an important part of DP energy’s non-fossil fuelled world objective. Wind energy offshore is typically stronger and more consistent than that on land due to the absence of any physical barriers. In addition, the very major scale of offshore projects enables significant inroads into making CO2 savings.
DP Energy is actively pursuing a number of offshore wind projects worldwide including here in Ireland where it has partnered with Iberdrola, one of the world’s largest renewable energy producers and one of the world’s most experienced offshore wind operators, to establish three off-shore wind projects on the south, east and west coasts. These will deliver 3GW of clean power.
Those projects include DP Energy’s home Cork project, the Inis Ealga Marine Energy Park which is located off the Cork and Waterford coasts. The good news is that Inis Ealga and the other projects will not only help battle climate change, support Irish industry and Irish jobs, but also reduce Ireland’s dependency on imported fossil fuels while also providing the opportunity for Ireland to become a major exporter of energy.
DP Energy’s goal is delivery of all three projects as quickly as possible in order to contribute to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan target of 80% renewable electricity by 2030, 7GW of offshore wind by 2030 and, of course, to make the largest contribution as early as we can to fight the battle against global climate change.
DP Energy is aligned and supports Government aspirations of 30GW (or more) of offshore renewables beyond 2030 as we both strive to achieve Net-Zero carbon target by 2050 and to support our European neighbours meeting theirs (using Irish wind). Taking Inis Ealga alone, with a notional capacity of 1,000 MW (1 GW) the project could generate enough energy to power the equivalent of nearly one million Irish homes.
Many of the onshore ecology, offshore bird and marine mammal surveys and preliminary site investigation studies are underway or completed, and recently DP Energy undertook a seabed geophysical survey.
The survey, which covered approximately 900 Km2 beyond the 12 nautical mile limit, was undertaken by Hydrographic Surveys of Crosshaven onboard the Commissioners of Irish Lights vessel, ILV Granuaile, a multifunctional ship. (Irish vessel, Irish surveyor, Irish Fisheries Liaison Officer and Irish Developer!).
We were pleased in this process to engage with the local fishermen to minimise any disruption to their fishing activities and with other stakeholders to ensure that the surveys were undertaken with the care necessary to sit within DP Energy’s ethos of ‘environmental responsibility’.
DP Energy recognises the need to share the sea and that open and genuine engagement with the local fishing community is critical. To facilitate this, the team actively engage directly not just with fisheries organisations but also with local fishermen one-to-one in order to understand the individual needs of each fisher.
DP Energy is truly committed to being at the centre of the transformation of Ireland’s energy industry and being a significant employer for the country’s most talented, motivated and innovative individuals in this sector.
The team has already expanded significantly, with the addition of Grid Managers, Project Managers, Community Engagement Liaison Officers and Project Engineers. Paired with this expansion comes an increased demand for additional support from environmental consultants, specialist vessel surveyors, engineering technical businesses and other suppliers. Demand for more team members and opportunity for more services will only increase. Building on Iberdrola’s experience elsewhere, the DP Energy-Iberdrola Joint Venture is also committed to supporting local supply chain and developing pathways to renewables in education.
To ensure there is a strong pipeline of enthusiastic people coming into the sector, we have joined forces with STEAM Education Ltd to launch a series of Green Energy and Climate Action Education Programmes to inspire the next wave of climate scientists, engineers, artists and active citizens.
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths and has a mission to inspire children to love STEAM subjects. The Green Energy & Climate Action Education Programmes engage 4th to 6th class students in approximately 20 local schools around the coast with a goal of supporting children to understand the key issues about the climate crisis and to engage in positive climate action in their schools, homes and wider communities. It is, after all, their future.
DP Energy is also focused on working with local Cork environmental groups since the better world goal means climate change and biodiversity must be tackled together. Inis Ealga recently announced sponsorship for the Clean Coasts Ballynamona project providing funding for the purchase of a boat and equipment to assist with the protection of waterways, coastline, seas and marine life and facilitate a range of science backed education programmes promoting biodiversity.
DP Energy’s vision of a world fully powered by renewable energy which protects its environment and biodiversity is achievable and the company plans to lead from the front to make this a reality in Cork, in Ireland and worldwide.
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