ESB makes big plans for offshore green hydrogen storage in Ireland

5 Sep 2022

Image: © Fokke Baarssen/

Partnering with energy company DCarbonX, ESB is eyeing locations to expand its green hydrogen plans as it aims to go net zero by 2040.

ESB and energy company DCarbonX have signed a joint venture agreement to expand their partnership in green hydrogen storage projects off the coast of Ireland.

Through the partnership, ESB and DCarbonX will explore green hydrogen storage opportunities in three clusters: east of Dublin’s Poolbeg, west of ESB’s Green Atlantic at Moneypoint project supporting the Shannon estuary cluster, and south of Aghada in Cork.

The project off the coast of Cork, known as Project Kestrel, was first announced in August of last year. It will see the redevelopment of decommissioned gas reservoirs at the Kinsale Head field to store green hydrogen.

DCarbonX is an affiliate of Snam, one of Europe’s largest gas storage and infrastructure companies. ESB has been working with the company since early 2021 to identify locations to develop Ireland’s offshore green hydrogen subsurface storage infrastructure.

“Mirroring the developments across Europe, ESB recognises the importance of large-scale energy storage and the role that green hydrogen will play in enabling a net-zero future,” said Jim Dollard, ESB executive director of generation and trading.

“This joint venture agreement provides an expanded platform to deliver key strategic integrated assets that can that help Ireland to meet its climate objectives, whilst also supporting energy security.”

The State-owned electricity company announced in February that it aims to be net zero in emissions by 2040. It committed to ensure a five-fold increase in renewable energy to 5MW, along with reducing the carbon intensity of its electricity generation by two-thirds by 2030.

Hydrogen has been suggested as an alternative energy source to help Ireland move away from fossil fuels and reduce emissions – as long as it is generated in a renewable way.

Using a process known as electrolysis, ESB is planning to use renewable electricity such as wind energy to generate green hydrogen. This can then be stored underground and used during periods of low wind energy production.

“The signing of this joint venture agreement with ESB is another crucial step in the development of large-scale energy storage solutions for Ireland,” said DCarbonX CEO Tony O’Reilly.

“Working with the backing of our shareholder Snam, DCarbonX has already begun the assessment of suitable offshore reservoirs that can support the storage of hydrogen and hydrogen carriers.”

Last month, a report from Hydrogen Mobility Ireland estimated that a 2.6pc drop in carbon emissions could be achieved this decade with a shift to hydrogen across transport.

The push for hydrogen-fuelled transport comes in the context of the ambitious targets set out in the EU’s Fit for 55 package as well as Ireland’s own Climate Action Plan and the need to diversify the country’s energy supply.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic