Shannon Estuary could be major ‘ocean energy hub’

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

THE chairperson of the Shannon Foynes Port Company has called for the Shannon Estuary to be immediately designated “an official European hub for manufacturing, assembling and servicing of ocean energy equipment”,

THE chairperson of the Shannon Foynes Port Company has called for the Shannon Estuary to be immediately designated “an official European hub for manufacturing, assembling and servicing of ocean energy equipment”,

Kay McGuinness called on the government and EU to “immediately designate the Estuary as the preferred location for a future, large-scale ocean energy hub”, a sector which could be worth an estimated €9 billion to the economy and create thousands of jobs, according to a recent report.

Ms McGuinness was speaking at conference in Thomond Park titled ‘Developing Europe’s Ocean Energy Hub - Securing Ireland’s energy future?’ - saying that a huge economic and job creation opportunity was available due to the explosion in renewable energy activities and the natural deepwater shipping resource provided by the estuary, declaring that the Shannon Estuary was “uniquely positioned to be the engine room of this rapid growth sector for Irish industry”.

“At Shannon Foynes Port Company we have signalled our own intent by planning for a €20 million investment in the creation of the West of Ireland’s only specialised quayside handling and storage area to facilitate investment in renewable energy resources. We are now calling for the immediate designation of the Shannon Estuary as the preferred location for a future, large-scale ocean energy hub, serving not only Irish needs but those of the wider European community.”

The port authority chairperson warned however that major legislative reform for foreshore and other licensing must be implemented if the Estuary’s enormous potential is to be unlocked.

“To many it seems that our bureaucrats ask not whether a project is worthwhile and should be permitted but whether they can find a reason to hold it up. That may not be the intention but too frequently, it is the apparent result.”