The NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum warmly welcomes the announcement that the Moneypoint coal plant in County Clare will be transformed into a new green hub and floating wind farm. This is the sort of move towards a sustainable energy future that the island of Ireland desperately needs. It also comes at a time of exciting announcements on offshore wind and the publication of climate change bills at the Dail and the Stormont Assembly.
The announcement by the state-owned Electricity Supply Board (ESB) will see Ireland move dramatically away from coal. The 915MW Moneypoint coal site will be closed, and the site be transformed into a green energy hub, including a 1.4GW floating offshore wind farm. (1)
The green energy hub will include a new €50m Sustainable System Support facility which will include the largest Synchronous Compensator in the world. This will provide a range of electrical services and higher volumes of renewable energy sources into the country’s electricity grid. Construction on this facility has already begun.
ESB is also planning to build the Moneypoint Floating offshore wind farm, which will be developed off the coast of Counties Clare and Kerry in two phases in partnership with the Norwegian power company Equinor.
ESB wants to see the Moneypoint site becoming a centre for the construction and assembly of floating wind turbines with the development of a wind turbine construction hub. This can use the site’s existing deep-water port, which could also be used as an ideal location for other renewable energy projects in the region.
The ESB announcement follows a flurry of other announcements to develop offshore wind energy projects around the coast of Ireland. For example, over the weekend it was announced that a €3bn offshore wind farm was being applied for off the Dublin / Wicklow coast at Bray Head. (2) NFLA welcome such applications and agree with the likes of the Irish Wildlife Trust that such windfarms need to take account of the marine environment and marine protected areas in terms of where they are located. (3)
NFLA also welcome the development of detailed Climate Change Bills that have been tabled at both the Dail and the Stormont Assembly. In the Dail, the proposed law would commit Ireland to cutting its emissions by 51% between 2018 and 2030 and to net zero no later than 2050. The Irish Government is pushing the Bill through the Dail as priority legislation. (4)
At the Stormont Assembly, a cross party supported Climate Change Bill has been tabled. This Bill would seek to enable the mitigation of the impact of climate change in Northern Ireland and would also establish a legally binding net-zero carbon target for Northern Ireland. It would also provide for the establishment and powers of the Northern Ireland Climate Commissioner and Northern Ireland Climate Office and seek to guarantee existing environmental and climate protections. (5)
These and other sustainable energy issues will be discussed at this Friday’s NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum webinar. Speakers at the webinar include:
- A speaker from Wind Energy Ireland (tbc) will look at the proposed developments of onshore and offshore wind around the island of Ireland and consider what impact they will have on getting to net zero emissions.
- Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, will profile its new report (being published in early May) that is considering how Councils across the Irish and British Isles can tackle the climate emergency in the difficult upcoming post-pandemic era.
- Tim Deere-Jones, an independent marine radioactivity consultant, will be considering the issues raised in developing a bridge or tunnel between Northern Ireland and Scotland and the real challenges in developing it at its narrowest point of the Irish Sea – the Beaufort’s Dyke area. This includes decades of toxic chemical and radioactive waste dumping and huge levels of munitions.
- Pete Roche, NFLA Policy Advisor, will highlight some of the offshore issues behind the potential development of the UK’s higher activity radioactive waste repository, which has been mooted to possibly go as much as 15 miles under the Irish Sea if it gets developed off the West Cumbria coast. With the recent concern over a deep underground coalmine for this part of Cumbria, what could be the risks for Irish coastal local authorities?
NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum Co Chair, Councillor David Healy said:
“I welcome the proposed transformation of the Moneypoint site from being one of the main carbon polluters in Ireland to becoming a major centre for dynamic development of a wide range of renewable energy technologies. Ireland must dramatically upscale its low carbon ambitions and this, with the climate change bills at the Dail and Stormont, is very welcome. I encourage councillors to attend our upcoming Forum webinar as we also believe local government needs to play an essential role in Ireland’s low carbon future. There is much to be done, but these announcements take Ireland in the right direction.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 7771 930196.
Notes to Editors:
(1) Renew Economy, 12th April 2021
(2) Irish Independent, 11th April 2021
(3) Times, 12th April 2021
(4) Climate Home News, 25th March 2021
(5) Northern Ireland Assembly Climate Change Bill