9 April 2021
Moneypoint is set to become a green energy hub over the coming years, according to an ESB announcement made earlier today.
The County Clare site currently houses the semi-state’s coal-powered station, but by transforming it to supply the country with renewable power ESB hopes it will help Ireland “become a leader in green energy production”.
In a joint venture with Equinor, The “Green Atlantic @ Moneypoint” multi-billion euro programme will see the establishment of an offshore wind farm off the coast of Clare and Kerry with a 1400 megawatt (MW) capacity. Its first phase is set to be delivered by 2028, according to ESB’s projections.
Once completed, ESB says it will have the capacity to power more than 1.6 million homes across the country.
The hub is also set to produce, store and generate green hydrogen towards the end of the decade.
The zero-emitting fuel is made through separating hydrogen and oxygen in water, and when the process is fuelled by renewable energy, it is referred to as “green hydrogen”.
Green hydrogen from the site is expected to be produced towards the end of the decade and is slated for decarbonisation use for power generation, heavy goods vehicles, pharmaceuticals, electronics and cement manufacturing.
“We are sharing our vision for a reimagined Moneypoint – one that will fundamentally change the way we live, how we plug in, how we make things and how we heat and cool our spaces,” ESB Chief Executive Pat O’Doherty said.
The reimagined site will also create 600 jobs and maintain secure supplies of electricity into the future, he added.
A “hugely significant announcement”
The move is hugely significant, even more so than most of the actions in the 2019 Climate Action Plan added up together in decarbonisation terms, according to Sadhbh O’Neill from Stop Climate Chaos.
It puts Ireland on a firm pathway to net zero emissions and “should signal an end well before 2050 on the reliance on fossil fuels in our energy system,” she said.
The coalition now wants to see the ESB committing to phasing out all fossil gas power generation and to ongoing public engagement and public participation on the project, she added.
Professor Barry McMullin from Dublin City University’s School of Electrical Engineering welcomed today’s announcement from the ESB and highlighted the role that hydrogen can play in ramping down the country’s use of natural gas.
In pockets of low renewable energy generation, the only current plan to deal with the issue is to use natural gas, which leads to carbon dioxide and methane emissions, he told The Green News.
“Using green hydrogen to fill these generation gaps is a much more attractive way of dealing with the retirement of natural gas,” he said, due to its non-carbon emitting component and its indigenous generation.