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19/10/2021

Wind farm plan heralds ‘start of unprecedented opportunity for Limerick region’

Wind farm plan heralds ‘start of unprecedented opportunity for Limerick region’

Moneypoint Power Station alongside Tarbert across the Shannon Estuary

MULTI-BILLION euro plans for a massive green energy hub at Moneypoint represents an “unprecedented” and “transformative” opportunity for the region and nation.

That’s according to the Shannon Foynes Port Company chief executive Pat Keating, who says the proposal, announced this morning, "validates the enormous potential” of the estuary as a “global renewable energy hub”.

The project sees the ESB teaming up with Equinor for a wind turbine construction hub and a floating offshore wind farm, while work on a €50m 'sustainable system support facility' is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

The ESB also announced plans for a green hydrogen production, storage and generation facility at Moneypoint by the end of the next decade.

Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created, with the development powering over 1.6 million homes.

Mr Keating said: “This is a hugely positive day for ESB and Equinor but also for everyone who has been working tirelessly over recent years to promote this unprecedented opportunity for Ireland. We have one of the world’s great energy renewable resources, with the Atlantic wind resource considered amongst the best in the world.  But we now finally have the wherewithal to use it because of the advancement of floating offshore wind technology and hydrogen generation. Put these elements together and we have the resource, the technology and base to transform Ireland into one of the world’s leading renewable energy locations.”

He says the Port Company sees this as just the start of development along the west coast.

“Last December we published a report estimating that the available wind resource of the west coast can generate up to 70GW of floating offshore wind energy, which is multiples of what we require as a nation, and it also identified potential for large scale hydrogen generation.  So today is a brilliant beginning in realising that potential,” he said, “The sustainable development of this renewable resource will allow Ireland to meet its climate action targets not only for energy generation but also, in time, in the carbon intensive transport sectors. In addition, due to the scale of the Atlantic wind resource and for the first time in its history, the country could become a significant global renewable energy exporter. This will deliver a lucrative new revenue stream for the exchequer while transitioning to a low carbon economy.”

Shannon Foynes Port Company chairman David McGarry added: “If we grasp this opportunity in the way that today’s announcement indicates we will, we are potentially looking at tens of thousands of jobs right up and down the west coast. A very significant concentration will be here on the Shannon Estuary thanks to our deep-water port, which is essential for supply-chain activity, but the opportunity really is limitless for the wider western seaboard.

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