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Behold! Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, talks to Mark Scully, ESB Engineering & Major Projects Manager at Moneypoint Generating Station at the official opening of a key component in the future renewable energy capacity of the station. Photograph by Natasha Barton

Call for county masterplan in advance of Moneypoint energy hub

A MASTERPLAN is needed to prepare for the ambitious Green energy hub to be developed by the ESB at Moneypoint, according to a member of the Council’s Economic Development committee.

Addressing the January meeting of the local authority, Councillor Johnny Flynn called for advance plans to facilitate the ESB’s multibillion euro Green Atlantic hub, and to address what he described as the “huge impacts” on the county’s road networks, its service and population growth.  

“As a member of the economic SPC. I think that as a county, we need to do a master plan on how to deal with the impact on our services of what the ESB are proposing at Moneypoint and also offshore,” he said. “There’s going to be huge impacts on our road network. There’s going to be significant impacts on our services delivery, whether it’s water, sewerage, and population growth.”

The Fine Gael member said a recent presentation by the ESB to the SPC had highlighted the need for mining for materials for the development. Councillor Flynn said the location would be “either in the region or somewhere else”. “I think we need to be master planning the impact across county of what is a multi-million euro industry, both offshore and onshore,” he said. 

Councillor Flynn made his comments after the matter was raised by Councillor Cillian Murphy. The Kilkee man noted the recent presentation to the Economic Development committee on the Maritime Area Planning Act, and called for more information for other members representing coastal areas. “SPCs can foster a siloed approach within the Council,” he said. “There are seven councillors on the SPC and only two of whom are directly impacted by maritime area consents. It’s not to take it away from members of the SPC, but the point is that there is another seven or eight councillors whose communities are directly impacted by it. When a presentation is given to an SPC, maybe other councillors could be invited to hear the presentation. That’s a really important piece of legislation for us.”

Responding, Chief Executive Pat Dowling said all members would be briefed. “The Maritime Area Planning legislation is important for all of the 28 councillors,” he said. “It has huge potential impact for the Council, the county, and all its constituent parts. It would be important to add that to a workshop around all of the planning stuff we’re doing. This is a key part of it and it’s new and will have significant impact on us, because we’re a coastal county,”

Chairperson of the SPC, Councillor Pat McMahon said he was supportive of Councillor Murphy’s comments and those of the Chief Executive. “We had an absolutely magnificent presentation, from the ESB,” he said. “They have given been a magnificent service to the Irish nation. We have to support that 100%.”

In 2021, the ESB announced that it has started work on transforming Moneypoint into a green energy hub to provide a range of electrical services to the national grid.

The site will be re-developed to include a floating offshore wind farm and will become a centre for wind turbine construction. A green hydrogen production, storage and generation facility is also planned. This is to be used for “power generation, heavy goods vehicles in the transport sector and to help decarbonise a wide range of industries such as pharmaceuticals, electronics and cement manufacturing”.

The ESB anticipated major job creation opportunities and said that, in the longer term, the development of Moneypoint would support wider plans of Shannon Foynes port, and would help make the Shannon Estuary a focal point for the offshore wind industry in Europe.

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