Ireland unveils strategy to put hydrogen energy into the grid

12 Jul 2023

Image: © Viks_jin/

The new strategy aims to help Ireland scale up its production of green hydrogen, to ensure energy security and boost ‘difficult-to-decarbonise’ sectors of the economy.

Ireland’s Government has revealed a long-awaited strategy to make hydrogen a player in the country’s future energy goals.

The new strategy looks at the short-term actions that are needed to develop the country’s hydrogen sector, along with a long-term vision of making hydrogen a “key component of a zero-carbon economy”. It also aims to provide clarity for stakeholders on how Ireland’s hydrogen sector is expected to grow in the coming decades.

The strategy states that Ireland will focus on scaling up its production of renewable “green” hydrogen, which is made by splitting hydrogen from water using electrolysers.  To be considered ‘green’, this requires the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

The goal is to use hydrogen energy to help decarbonise the economy, enhance Ireland’s energy security by reducing fossil fuel imports and present a potential export market for domestically produced hydrogen.

The Government plans to focus on using hydrogen to boost “difficult-to-decarbonise” sectors of the economy such as transport.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and Transport Eamon Ryan, TD, said Hydrogen presents an “incredible opportunity”, but added that must be targeted to “the uses where it will deliver the greatest benefits”.

“We must not become distracted by the possibility to deploying hydrogen technologies where direct electrification would deliver a better outcome,” Ryan said. “If it is not efficient, if it is not the best use, and if it is not in line with our net zero plans, then we will not be doing it.”

The strategy was welcomed by Bord Gáis Energy, which said it believes green hydrogen is a keystone to making Ireland a “clean, green-energy powerhouse”. The energy company said it is investing €300m to build two hydrogen-capable power generation plants, which are expected to be ready to support the grid at the end of 2024.

Wind Energy Ireland – the representative group for the Irish wind energy industry – also welcomed the strategy, believing this form of energy can help the country achieve energy independence.

The group’s CEO Noel Cunniffe said Irish wind farms will be able to help produce the green hydrogen that can decarbonise sectors like aviation, shipping and heavy transport, while providing a “secure source of renewable electricity for the grid.”

“Our members are already working to make this happen,” Cunniffe said. “We have the projects, the people and the expertise. This strategy gives the direction and the confidence we need to attract investment, to make Ireland a European leader in green hydrogen production.”

Ireland has been laying the groundwork to develop green hydrogen for some time. Last September, Irish green energy company EIH2 signed a deal with the ports of Cork and Amsterdam, creating a supply chain for green hydrogen between Ireland and Europe.

Last year, GenComm programme manager Paul McCormack said Ireland is at the “epicentre of the hydrogen revolution” with a number of national and international projects underway in this sector.

In May, Verne Global’s Kim Gunnelius spoke to about the big global players in green hydrogen, the advantages Ireland has in this field and the need for Government subsidies to boost renewable production.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic