Public consultation under way for innovative hydrogen valley

Pictured are representatives from the GH2 consortium including: John O’Sullivan, SSE Renewables’ Project Manager for GH2, Caoimhe Donnelly, Chief Sustainability Officer, CIÉ and Dr Rory Monaghan, Senior Lecturer of Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway. Photo:Andrew Downes, Xposure

Pictured are representatives from the GH2 consortium including: John O’Sullivan, SSE Renewables’ Project Manager for GH2, Caoimhe Donnelly, Chief Sustainability Officer, CIÉ and Dr Rory Monaghan, Senior Lecturer of Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway. Photo:Andrew Downes, Xposure

A two-day public consultation will get under way in the city today (Thursday ) following the announcement of detailed 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.

Representatives from the GH2 consortium will be on hand to discuss project proposals and answer questions from the public on the proposed hydrogen hub. The in-person events will also offer a complete overview of the project. A brochure on the project and a feedback form will be available at the event, and the virtual public consultation can be viewed at www.gh2.ie

Details of the Galway Hydrogen Hub were announced earlier this week at a launch event in NUI Galway. GH2 is a consortium consisting of seven members - NUI Galway, the Port of Galway, CIÉ Group and Bus Éireann, Aran Islands Ferries, Lasta Mara Teo, Aer Arann Islands, and SSE Renewables.

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 a number of other European countries.

The GH2 consortium intends to develop an initial flagship demonstrator project at the Port of Galway, for the indigenous production and supply of clean green hydrogen fuel for public and private vehicles. The GH2 project’s preferred connection point to the national grid is at the Galway 110kV grid substation, and will be powered by green energy through a renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement with SSE, backed up by a guarantee of origin.

The green hydrogen produced at GH2 project will then be distributed for use by buses and trucks initially, later extending to maritime and aviation, to deliver a multi-modal, zero emission, green hydrogen transport hub that can be easily replicated across Ireland.

The development of the country’s first hydrogen valley is another step forward in positioning Ireland at the strategic centre of renewable energy generation and energy sector integration.

Green hydrogen can provide security of energy supply, assist in countering long-term energy price fluctuation, and make a significant contribution to reducing Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonising the transport sector.

“As the CIÉ Group is by far the country’s largest public transport provider, we are delighted to work with our partners in this consortium to officially launch the Galway Hydrogen Hub,” Lorcan O’Connor, group chief executive, CIÉ, said at the launch. “This will ensure that we are at the forefront of the opportunity hydrogen fuel will provide in meeting both our own decarbonisation targets, and those of the State.

“It will ensure we have explored a complementary mix of zero emissions technologies, with the current focus on electrification, to power low carbon transport and meet our 2030 targets and net zero target by 2050,” he added. “What we develop and learn in this innovative partnership in Galway could be transformative for sustainability in the transport sector as a whole.”

According to John O’Sullivan, SSE Renewables’ project manager for GH2, this week’s announcement marks a “key milestone” in developing new renewable energy solutions for the country as a whole.

“Green hydrogen is gaining global recognition as a means of decarbonising heavy duty and long-distance transport as well as industry,” Mr O’Sullivan said. “The development of Ireland’s first Hydrogen Valley in Galway Harbour will allow us to utilise indigenous renewable energy to produce green hydrogen for use by local road, air, sea, and rail transport alongside industry.

“As part of the integrated SSE Group, SSE Renewables has a view across the whole energy value chain and so is uniquely positioned to deliver this green hydrogen solution for the consortium, helping to kickstart the development of a new hydrogen economy in the west of Ireland.”

Dr Rory Monaghan, senior lecturer in energy systems engineering at NUI Galway, added: “The future sustainable growth of our region will depend in large part on the availability of secure indigenous renewable energy. We are witnessing huge strides in the greening of our electricity grid with wind, but we use twice as much energy for transport, almost all of which is imported fossil fuel. The key innovation of GH2 is the use of wind to drive a zero emission, multi modal transport sector.”

The intended hydrogen transport hub is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2024. A planning application for the project will be submitted in the coming months.

 

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