A leading European organisation has selected Valentia Island as one of 15 regions that will receive support to explore clean-energy solutions.
It comes as part of efforts to help Ireland on its path to net zero.
The Brussels-based Clean Hydrogen Partnership will fund the H2ORIZON study by leading hydrogen consultants. They will explore the role of hydrogen in decarbonising energy on Valentia Island, especially in a maritime context.
World-leading hydrogen consultants will explore clean-energy opportunities on the island and will examine the potential for businesses and modes of transport to use hydrogen.
Valentia Island, and the surrounding areas, is already leading the way as a pioneering sustainable community with the recent completion of an energy masterplan and a feasibility study into renewable and green technologies.
This work was supported by GenComm, a research project which addresses the energy sustainability challenges for European communities through the implementation of smart hydrogen-based energy.
Leading hydrogen consultants appointed by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership will explore various opportunities where hydrogen produced from renewable energy can complement the role of electrification in decarbonising Valentia Island; for example, offering green hydrogen infrastructure for tourism and marine mobility and powering industry such as the local distillery.
In January 2020, the Valentia Energy Co-Operative was established with the aim of ensuring that the wider community works with stakeholders to find and develop clean-energy solutions.
Welcoming the announcement, Chairman of the Valentia Island Energy Co-operative, Colum O’Connell, said while this is good news, the Irish Government needs to give more clarity on their hydrogen strategy.
“What we are looking to introduce is a fundamental shift in how we think about decarbonisation,” he said. “Other governments around the world recognise the opportunities hydrogen can bring and are developing strategies to develop green hydrogen. The recently published Climate Action Plan 2023 included specific actions to enable the use of hydrogen across industry, enterprise and transport. However, we need more clarity at national level on what our strategy is.
The news this week follows an application by Valentia Island Energy Co-op for a foreshore licence to begin investigating the potential for a multi-million Euro floating wind farm off the Valentia coast, which will be linked with their hydrogen project.
As one of the partners of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, the ESB will work closely with the consultants in identifying and planning green energy opportunities.
Hydrogen Manager at ESB, Aodhan McAleer said the project in Valentia is critical:
“...Projects such as this in Valentia Island are critical to learning how our future energy system will work and benefit key industries such as marine transport, as well as providing back-up generation. We look forward to working with Valentia Island stakeholders and thank them for allowing us to be part of their sustainable journey.”