Moneypoint to become a green energy hub powering 1.6m homes

9 Apr 2021

Image: ESB

The coal-burning power plant in Co Clare will be transformed into a renewable energy site over the next decade.

A 1,400MW floating offshore windfarm, a turbine construction hub and a hydrogen production facility are among the plans to transform ESB’s Moneypoint site into a green energy hub.

Today (9 April) ESB announced a multibillion-euro programme that aims to deploy a range of renewable technologies in Moneypoint, Co Clare, which will have the capacity to power 1.6m homes in Ireland.

The Green Atlantic project will contribute significantly to the Irish Government’s target of a 51pc reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

‘A reimagined Moneypoint will not only create hundreds of jobs but will also help Ireland meet its climate targets’

Built in the 1980s, the Moneypoint plant primarily burns coal and, according to ESB, produced 25pc of Ireland’s electricity requirements at its peak. However, it is due to cease coal burning by 2025 and the site will become a centre for green energy instead.

Speaking at the launch of the project, ESB chief executive Pat O’Doherty said the programme has the potential to transform the economy. “We have to take carbon out of the Irish economy,” he said.

“We have long signalled our intention to cease burning coal at Moneypoint,” O’Doherty added. “Today we are unveiling plans for a reimagined Moneypoint, which will not only create hundreds of jobs, but will also help Ireland to meet its climate targets and maintain secure supplies of electricity into the future.”

As part of the investment, ESB plans to build a floating offshore windfarm of 1,400MW off the coast of Clare and Kerry through its partnership with Equinor, which will be capable of powering more than 1.6m homes in Ireland once complete. Subject to the appropriate consents being granted, the windfarm is expected to be in production within the next decade.

The project will also see Moneypoint become a centre for the construction and assembly of floating wind turbines. ESB also plans to invest in a green hydrogen production, storage and generation facility at the Co Clare site towards the end of the decade.

The Moneypoint site is one of the deepest ports in Europe, which will allow for easy access for ships transporting wind turbines and exporting hydrogen to Europe.

ESB will also break ground on a new €50m sustainable system support facility in the coming weeks, which it said will be the largest of its kind in the world. The facility will provide a range of electrical services to the electricity grid which would previously have been supplied by thermal fired power stations.

Jim Dollard, executive director of generation and trading at ESB, said the project marks “a significant milestone” on the road to achieving carbon neutrality.

“Moneypoint has played a critical role in the country’s energy supply for almost 40 years. We are proud that it will continue to have a crucial role in Ireland’s energy future with many benefits for the local community and wider society,” he said.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic