The renewable energy generation potential of the Shannon Estuary is beyond a domestic opportunity and very much at European scale, the Dutch and German Ambassadors to Ireland have concluded during a visit to Foynes.
Dutch Ambassador to Ireland Adriaan Palm and German Ambassador to Ireland Cord Meier-Klodt visited the largest port and key enabler of the estuary’s planned transformation into a global renewable energy hub over the coming decades. The visit was at the invitation of Shannon Foynes Port Company, which has statutory jurisdiction over all marine activities on the 500km2 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 our 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 fuels generation plans and believe that the Shannon Estuary and Ireland 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.
Said Ambassador Palm: “Our nations are on a common journey today. 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 into a market that wants it, 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.”
Said Chairman of Shannon Foynes Port Company David McGarry: “We’re delighted to have welcomed the Dutch and German ambassadors. Their visit follows that of other high ranking political and official figures from across the EU as well as energy developers over recent months. There is growing awareness and consensus that the opportunity off the Shannon Estuary is enormous because of our proximity to what are among the best winds in the world here on the west coast, the deep water we have that is essential for building out turbines at the scale required to harvest these winds, the availability of port sites needed for this and more.
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.”