So much of what will shape Galway in the remainder of this century will centre on where we position ourselves in terms of innovation, quality of life, sustainability, inclusivity and community.
When people look back a century from now, we would hope that they would not see this period as one of stagnation, of a lack of innovation, of an absence of imagination. Such an analysis would indeed be a damning one, although we might not be around to feel its consequences.
However, what sets apart societies is that ability to plant trees under the shade of which we will never sit. To use talents to create something we may never enjoy; to envisage a society that we would wish for now, but which may not materialise for decades or generations.
But that should not stop us as a generation from being aware of what our current and future needs will be, especially in light of the geopolitical shock we have received this year with the invasion of Ukraine, and the seeming inability/willingness of the rest of the world to prevent it.
In that context, it is encouraging to see that Ireland and indeed, the west of Ireland is making plans to be able to gain a foothold in the battle for energy independence. Already there are plans to develop Galway as a central hub in the battle for wind/wave power off the west coast.
And today in the city, a two-day consultation process will begin into the plans to create the country’s first hydrogen valley in Galway.
The Galway Hydrogen Hub (GH2 ) will be a zero-emissions facility located at Galway Harbour, linking hydrogen research, production, distribution, and transportation with various end users such as transport and industry.
As part of the planning process for the GH2 project, a public consultation meeting will take place in the Harbour Hotel today (Thursday ) from 4pm to 8pm, and tomorrow, June 24, from 10am to 1pm.
GH2 will position Galway as the home of Ireland’s first hydrogen valley, providing green hydrogen for use in transport, industry, and within local communities in the greater Galway region. Similar projects have been launched in other countriies, to great success.
A Hydrogen Valley is a regional ecosystem that links hydrogen research, production, distribution, and transportation with various end users such as transport and industry. The utilisation of indigenous green hydrogen at Hydrogen Valleys is considered an important step towards enabling the development of a new hydrogen economy. There are hopes that the west could benefit dually from the wind/wave energy and hydrogen production to the extent that other regions have in the EU from other energy products over the past years.
The intended hydrogen transport hub if granted permission, will be fully operational by the end of 2024 and this week’s announcement marks a significant development in the potential for the production and delivery of indigenous renewable fuel for both the domestic and export markets.
If you have an interest in this, you could do worse than popping along to the consultation process. This and sea-power might be the flags that sustain this region a half century from now.