A new floating offshore wind farm of 1,400MW will be developed off the coast of Clare as part of a multi-billion Euro transformation of Moneypoint Power Station into a green energy renewables hub, the ESB has announced.
The ESB has already commenced work on transforming Moneypoint into a green energy hub, breaking ground on a new €50 million Sustainable System Support facility in the coming weeks. This Synchronous Compensator will be the largest of its kind in the world.
The new plant will provide a range of electrical services to the electricity grid, which would previously have been supplied by thermal fired power stations. Its operation will enable higher volumes of renewables on the system.
The transformation of the Moneypoint site will allow a range of renewable technologies to be deployed over the next decade with the capacity to power 1.6 million homes.
In line with the Government’s ambition of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, ESB has stated the transformation of Moneypoint in County Clare into a green energy hub will help Ireland to become a leader in green energy production.
The Green Atlantic development at Moneypoint is a multi-billion Euro programme of significant investments on the site over the next decade resulting in hundreds of jobs.
This development will be welcomed in West Clare where fears were expressed about the future viability of Moneypoint following the loss of a major contract last year and the reduction of about 100 jobs as part of a rationalisation programme.
A floating offshore wind farm of 1,400MW will be developed off the coast of Clare and Kerry in two phases by ESB and joint venture partners, Equinor, a world leader in floating offshore wind technology.
Once complete, the wind farm will be capable of powering more than 1.6 million homes in Ireland. Subject to the appropriate consents being granted, the wind farm is expected to be in production within the next decade.
Moneypoint will become a centre for the construction and assembly of floating wind turbines. A deep-water port already exists at the site, making it an ideal staging ground for the construction of the wind farm.
It is expected this will generate a significant number of direct jobs in the Mid-West region. In the longer term, the development of Moneypoint will support wider plans for Shannon Foynes port, and working with local stakeholders, help make the Shannon Estuary a focal point for the offshore wind industry in Europe.
ESB’s plans include investment in a green hydrogen production, storage and generation facility at Moneypoint towards the end of the decade. A clean, zero-carbon fuel, green hydrogen will be produced from renewable energy and 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.
Pat O’Doherty, ESB Chief Executive, said ESB’s Brighter Future strategy is anchored in its ambition to lead the transition to a low-carbon energy future, powered by clean electricity.
“The transformation of Moneypoint into a green energy hub will be a major step in achieving this and will bring huge benefits to the Mid-West and beyond. We have long signalled our intention to cease burning coal at Moneypoint.
“Today, we are unveiling plans for a reimagined Moneypoint, which will not only create hundreds of jobs, but will also help Ireland to meet its climate targets and maintain secure supplies of electricity into the future.”
Green Atlantic at Moneypoint is a key part of ESB’s Brighter Future strategy and will contribute significantly to achieving the Government’s target of a 51% reduction in emissions by 2030.
At its peak, Moneypoint produced 25% of Ireland’s electricity requirements. Built in the 1980s as a response to problems in acquiring oil supplies, Moneypoint primarily burns coal and has provided continuity of supply and energy security for the country for almost 40 years.
Moneypoint is one of the deepest ports in Europe. This is an essential element of the decarbonisation project, as the ships used to deliver wind turbines need to dock in a deep-water port. The presence of the deep-water port at this facility also allows for wind turbines to be brought back on shore for service and maintenance as required.
The deep-water port will allow easy access for ships which will be used to export hydrogen to Europe.