Skip to main content

Ireland to close its only coal plant, convert site to offshore wind hub

April 09, 2021

Silicon Republic:

The [915 megawatt Moneypoint] 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.

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 signaled 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.

[Jenny Darmody]

More: Moneypoint to become a green energy hub powering 1.6m homes

Join our newsletter

Keep up to date with all the latest from IEEFA