THE Shannon Estuary’s potential to generate renewable energy is of a scale to make a significant contribution to Europe’s energy mix in the decades ahead.
That was the message from Dutch Ambassador Adriaan Palm and German Ambassador Cord Meier-Klodt when they visited Foynes Port which is spearheading the estuary’s transformation into a global renewable energy hub.
The visit was at the invitation of Shannon Foynes Port Company, which has statutory jurisdiction over all marine activities on the estuary.
The estuary is earmarked as the supply-chain hub for realising Ireland’s enormous offshore wind opportunity off the west coast. That wind resource is estimated to be capable of generating up to 80GW of electricity – ten times the national requirement – for a mix of grid supply, storage, export or producing green hydrogen.
Both Germany and The Netherlands have ambitious wind energy and green fuel generation plans and believe that the Shannon Estuary is also on a path to contributing significantly to Europe’s energy mix in the decades ahead, such is the scale of the opportunity here.
Ambassador Palm said that The Netherlands, Ireland and, indeed, the EU through the REPowerEU programme, see wind and green fuels as key components in the mix for tackling climate change and energy security.
“I’m delighted to have been able to come to Foynes to witness first-hand the potential here and it is enormous. It is at a scale that will impact way beyond domestic requirements but, I believe, can make a significant impact on the wider European energy mix.”
Said Ambassador Meier-Klodt: “There is a great opportunity for us all to work together and create a pan-European solution to energy security and climate change issues that are priorities for our individual nations and the European collective right now.
“Based on what we have seen and heard here at Foynes, the opportunity is such that domestic requirements can be met from here but with significant additional capacity beyond that for a mix of opportunities, including electricity or green fuels exports to Europe.
“That means Ireland has the opportunity to become a leading international renewable energy exporter. If it realises that opportunity, it will be good news for Ireland and good news for Europe in terms of climate change, energy security and the economy.”
Shannon Foynes Port Company Chairman David McGarry said the conclusion being drawn is that the Shannon Estuary and Ireland is set to become a global player in renewable energy generation.
“There’s a lot of work to do in terms of infrastructure and investment if that is to be achieved but momentum is most definitely building,” he added.