Moneypoint’s importance to Ireland’s clean energy goals must be recognised, a Clare TD has highlighted.
EirGrid is currently holding a 14 week public consultation process regarding the ‘best way for Ireland to move from reliance on fossil fuels to cleaner energy’. The input of Moneypoint into the country’s shift from fossil fuel dependency to renewable energy must form part of the thinking in this process, Cathal Crowe TD (FF) believed.
By doing so, he said the strategic value of Moneypoint would be highlighted. “In the late 1980s, two 400kv power lines were laid at Moneypoint, running right across Ireland to Leinster and the Greater Dublin Area. These are the highest spec of power lines in the country and are an integral part of the EirGrid infrastructure in terms of generating electricity – Moneypoint is capable of providing 25% of the nation’s electric output,” Deputy Crowe stated.
He continued, “I’ve been speaking with senior officials in EirGrid and saying that whilst Moneypoint is on a slow wind-down insofar as its coal burning operations, the power station and its high capacity power lines need to be urgently repurposed to carry renewable energy across the country. There is colossal offshore potential for wind energy generation along the Atlantic coastline and in recent weeks I’ve been speaking with a number of individuals in the wind energy sector about this untapped potential”.
Offshore wind’s development along the Atlantic coast is progressing but wind turbines are expected to first appear off the southern and eastern coasts. “The ones that would be ultimately developed off of the coasts of Clare, Galway and Mayo will most likely require floatation infrastructure to keep them upright,” Crowe commented.
Absence of a Just Transition Fund for Moneypoint was bemoaned by the former Mayor of Clare. “The midland counties of Ireland already have their Just Transition Plan, which will help them realise new potential in post fossil fuel Ireland but we still don’t have effective plan for Moneypoint. Because of the really valuable 400kv lines that go from Moneypoint across the country, this component of national infrastructure cannot be ignored neglected and I believe it positions Moneypoint to be the most ideal setting in the country for processing offshore wind energy and transmitting it onto the national grid. The realisation of this would be a huge boost to west Clare and the whole western coast”.