The Shannon Estuary’s future as a leading international renewable energy hub has been given significant endorsement by one of Europe’s most influential green hydrogen figures.
Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, Germany’s Innovation Commissioner for Green Hydrogen and Bundestag member, visited Foynes this weekend and was much impressed by the vision and the estuary’s potential as a key driver in Europe’s transition away from environmentally harmful fossil fuels to green hydrogen.
The west Limerick town and port is earmarked as the epicentre for the development of international scale floating offshore wind technology on the west coast and associated hydrogen production.
Green hydrogen is set to become a major driver for a decarbonised future, replacing natural gas, diesel and gasoline used in ships, trucks, buses, and cars, as well as a large scale industrial power source and potentially district heating systems.
Germany is set to become a global green-hydrogen leader with a national strategy providing for a total €9bn of support for setting up a hydrogen economy by 2030. The country plans to have 5GW of installed electrolysis capacity by 2030.
The Shannon Estuary and its accessibility to the potential 75GW Atlantic wind resource is uniquely placed to facilitate the vast environmental and economic opportunity from harnessing the west coast’s almost unrivalled wind capacity through floating offshore wind installations and, in turn, using the energy generated to create green hydrogen.
Dr. Kaufmann and his officials met with Chief Executive of Shannon Foynes Port Pat Keating to discuss opportunities for cooperation and collaboration in order to advance Ireland’s and Germany’s mutual ambitions in this regard.
Said Dr. Kaufmann: “Germany is on a trajectory to become a hydrogen republic. We aim to be the global leader in green hydrogen technologies. Green hydrogen comes from renewable resources and while we don’t have the wind energy potential of other regions, not least here on the west coast of Ireland, we do have the know-how for establishing sustainable, secure and efficient energy systems of the future.
“I wanted to come to Foynes to get a deeper understanding of the potential here and the opportunity is undeniable because of the wind power available off the coast, the deep estuary waters which are essential for development activity, the available land bank and the port authority’s ambition and strategic approach.
“There is an incredible opportunity here. I’ve been very impressed and am looking forward to developing an Irish-German-relationship.”
Said Shannon Foynes Port CEO Pat Keating: “Green hydrogen can play a central role in tackling the emerging climate crisis. Germany has huge ambition when it comes to hydrogen and a strategy to go with it. It is a global leader also in relation to transporting gases, so we have a huge amount to learn from it. Given its focus on becoming a hydrogen powered economy, but also that it does not have the capacity to produce the required quantities of hydrogen itself, there is a huge opportunity for us to export our energy there also.”
He added: “We were delighted to welcome Commissioner Kaufmann today. He has been referred to as Germany’s ‘Mr Hydrogen’, which says a lot, as does the German Federal Government’s commitment by having a Commissioner for Green Hydrogen. His knowledge and passion for the sector and its potential from an economic and environmental perspective is bottomless. We believe this visit is the start of a very positive relationship for us all.”