Moneypoint power station in Co Clare looks set to become a 'green energy hub' under new plans announced by the ESB.
Located on the Shannon estuary, Moneypoint once produced 25 per cent of Ireland's electricity, but will now switch to a range of renewable technologies, in line with the Government's goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
The multi-billion Euro project, undertaken in partnership with Equinor, will see the establishment of a wind turbine construction hub and a floating offshore wind farm, while work on a €50 million '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.
The news has been welcomed by local representatives who had long feared the closure of the power station, which employs 80 people, following the decision to cease burning coal there by 2025.
Ambitious plan to create a green energy hub at Moneypoint in Clare – with the potential to power 1.6m homes with renewable energy, and create hundreds of jobs.
The ESB’s Green Atlantic project is a boost for the Mid-West, and a big step towards #NetZero emissions by 2050.
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) April 9, 2021
A further blow also came last year when Moneypoint did not prequalify for the T-4 auction for October 2024-September 2025, meaning the loss of its primary source of income.
Clare Senator and Fianna Fáil spokesperson for climate action, Timmy Dooley said the jobs created by the ESB's plans will be a significant boost for the area.
"The [plans] will have huge job creation possibilities in west Clare, with very significant job numbers associated with the investment. But it is only a taste of what’s in store, which will be transformational for not just the Clare area but the wider region and Ireland generally," Mr Dooley said.
He added hydrogen is "the fuel of the future" which will be "transformational for our environment".
Meanwhile, Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara said the project will place Moneypoint at the centre of Ireland's offshore energy strategy.
"Over the past year, I have been critical of the Government in the Dáil for seeking to source power from offshore energy projects in Europe at a time when no similar projects were being advanced by our Government.
"I am delighted that moves are now expected to be made to develop our own offshore energy sector, utilising the existing transmission network from Moneypoint," Mr McNamara said.
"The expected new development for Moneypoint will be an important step forward for the country's renewable energy commitments and will represent a significant boost for the economies of Clare and Ireland," he added.