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Artist's impression of the new Moneypoint Renewable Energy Hub in Clare.

Moneypoint key to Ireland meeting its climate targets

Ireland could become net exporter of energy once Green Atlantic project comes fully to fruition, reports Dan Danaher.

THE creation of a new multi-billion euro green energy hub at Moneypoint Power Station can help Ireland to become a net exporter of energy, the ESB has predicted. 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.

Green Atlantic is a new ambitious plan, which includes the proposed development of new off-shore wind farm with the potential to power 1.6 million homes.

Speaking at a press briefing on Friday, ESB chief executive, Pat O’Doherty stated Green Atlantic at Moneypoint reflects the scale of its ambition and commitment to creating a cleaner, brighter and more sustainable future for everyone.

“Ireland imports 80% of its requirements in the form of coal, oil and gas. By harnessing the clean natural energy of the Atlantic, this project presents the opportunity to become a net exporter of energy. This technology is not only transformative for the environment, it will also create new economic opportunities. ESB has already invested billions in clean energy infrastructure and we will continue to do so over the coming decades in Moneypoint.

“Secure, clean abundant energy will fuel the economy, create jobs and attract further investment. We believe Ireland will become a leader in the fight against climate change and an example to the world of how to create a clean and sustainable future. The technology is available and we have the capabilities and partners to make this become a reality,” he said.

Mr O’Doherty admitted in different times he would have made this announcement from Moneypoint, but this wasn’t possible due to Covid-19 restrictions. He extended a warm welcome to West Clare people who joined the briefing virtually. “Today’s announcement is all about Moneypoint. It is a location of great importance and significance to West Clare.”

In a comprehensive statement, Mr O’Doherty outlined how Moneypoint can play a significant role in the fight against climate change, which he described as the “defining challenge” of this generation. He stated the Irish government has set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions by half by the end of this decade on the way to achieving net zero carbon by 2050.

To take carbon out of the Irish economy, he explained it is important to take out carbon from the energy system. “ESB can and will play a major role in achieving this. This isn’t the first time that ESB has embarked on an ambitious and visionary plan to transform Ireland’s energy landscape.

Almost 100 years ago, the development of the Shannon Scheme in Ardnacrusha became the catalyst for Ireland’s social, economic and industrial development.

“At the time Ardnacrusha was the largest hydroelectric scheme in the world. Eventually, it was superseded by the Hoover Dam. It was engineering on a grand scale and set the scene for many other equally bold and ambitious projects delivered by ESB for the good of the nation.

“Today as the ESB continues to work for a brighter future for the communities and customers we serve, we are sharing our vision for Moneypoint, which will fundamentally change the way we live, how we plug in and how we move about, how we make things and how we heat and cool our spaces.

Aodhan McAleer, ESB hydrogen manager, explained energy storage is the missing ingredient in the energy sector in the decarbonisation story. “We need to catch the wind and store this energy. Storing renewable energy as hydrogen is the game changer. We can use offshore wind energy to make green renewable hydrogen.

Mr McAleer said hydrogen is a carbon-free gas that can be safely stored and used as a replacement fuel in transport, industry and power generation, instead of fossil fuels. He explained Green Atlantic hydrogen is a viable alternative, a clean green fuel for the future.

“Imagine our towns and village with zero carbon, zero emissions vehicles. Industry are not just competing on price but on their carbon footprint. Green hydrogen is required to decarbonise a wide range of these industries. Industry such as pharmaceutical, cement production and many others. We can store this green hydrogen to make electricity when the wind doesn’t blow. As we deliver our offshore wind farms, we can build the infrastructure to produce and store this hydrogen. The key to solving these challenges is the ESB Green Atlantic at Moneypoint.”

ESB strategic analyst, Aine O’Grady described using off shore wind to generate hydrogen are exciting new technologies, which will result in the creation of a whole new industry in Ireland.
“We believe Moneypoint and the Shannon Estuary will be at the heart of this new industry. Moneypoint has been a great servant to the Irish people. It was built to provide a secure supply of electricity for our nation and has done so for 40 years.

“It is time for a new chapter. We intend to transform Moneypoint into Ireland’s premier renewable energy hub. Located on the Shannon Estuary, Moneypoint’s proximity to planned wind farms is an obvious advantage. Moneypoint is also home to one of the deepest water ports channels in Western Europe,” she stated.

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