THERE are four key elements to the multi-billion Euro Green Atlantic initiative announced by the ESB, which will result in the creation of a renewable energy hub in Moneypoint Power Station.
The first part is renewable enablement. Work has already started on transforming Moneypoint into a green energy hub, breaking ground on a new €50m Sustainable System Support facility in the coming weeks.
This 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 second element is the creation of a floating off-shore wind farm of 1,400MW off the coast of Counties Clare and Kerry, which will be developed 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 1.6m homes in Ireland. Subject to the appropriate consents being granted, the wind farm is expected to be in production within the next decade.
The third element is the provision of a wind turbine construction hub. 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 also 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.
This has been described as a “game changer” as the storage of electricity during periods when too much electricity is being produced is vital in terms of providing a regular supply of renewable energy.