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Speed Brief on the Government Consultation on Developing a Hydrogen Strategy for Ireland

  • Ireland
  • Energy and infrastructure - Hydrogen

11-09-2022

The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (the “Department”) recently launched a consultation seeking the views of stakeholders and interested parties to inform the development of Ireland’s Green Hydrogen Strategy.

It is clear from the consultation that the Department’s priority is identifying the potential role and opportunities of Green hydrogen (hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources through electrolysis) in developing a strategy that aligns with the country’s decarbonisation and energy security goals, policies and supports the achievement of the Carbon Action Plan.

Green Hydrogen, has been identified at an EU and an Irish level, as having the greatest decarbonisation potential, particularly in sectors where reducing carbon emissions is difficult to achieve, such as electricity generation, industry and transport. The Green Hydrogen strategy looked at a number of key issues as set out further below.

The consultation process is another milestone for a Green Hydrogen economy in Ireland as we seek to catch up with our European neighbours. Ireland has incredible potential to be a European leader in respect of production, usage and exporting of Green Hydrogen – creating a virtuous net-zero economy that has a collateral positive impact on jobs and communities needed to support the growth of the sector. The Department has sought submissions on a number of key areas. Each will have their own specific requirements but it is likely that a number of key themes will be interwoven into the market’s response including the need for clear strategy, mandated hydrogen targets, support for projects that create reliable demand for hydrogen, price support for Green Hydrogen (akin to CfDs in the renewable sector) and committed funding for pilot projects and research. We fully support the Department’s programme for developing a strategy and look forward to seeing the outcome of the consultation and the onward drive to capitalise on Ireland’s hydrogen potential” – Rupert Lugg of Eversheds Sutherland’s Dublin based project team.

Research

 

While significant research is being carried out in Ireland to determine how to effectively and efficiently deploy hydrogen in Ireland’s energy mix, the Department sought views on the areas which require further research and the areas which should be prioritised for the development of individual end-uses in Ireland.

Demand

 

In order to effectively deploy the use of green hydrogen in Ireland, the Department recognises that an examination of each sector will be required to identify the challenges and synergies. Submissions were sought on the demand for hydrogen in Ireland, the sectors to be prioritised and how hydrogen compares to competing technologies for end-users.

Supply

The Department requested stakeholder views on the most advantageous locations for hydrogen production facilities and whether any renewable electricity potential that does not have a route to market grid connections could be used for green hydrogen production.

 

Transportation and Storage

 

An important consideration for the Department is identifying the requirements and challenges facing end-users when transporting and storing hydrogen. The Department sought submissions on whether any existing infrastructures could be used or adapted to meet these requirements, the levels of hydrogen storage Ireland should maintain and where storage facilities should be located.

Export Opportunity

 

The Department believes that Ireland has the potential to export green hydrogen at the same time as developing a national market and sought views on how exports should be supported and the volumes of exportation which could be viable by 2030 and in the period to 2035.

Safety and Regulation

 

The current Irish gas and electricity legislative framework would regulate the safe introduction of hydrogen blends into the national grid however it would not cover 100% hydrogen. Legislative change will therefore be required to ensure the ongoing development of the hydrogen energy market. Stakeholder submissions were requested on the appropriate safety framework to be introduced, the state body to regulate it and the international standards to be adopted. 

Supports and Targets

The Department sought views on how the deployment of hydrogen should be funded and incentivised and the realistic targets and timelines for production.

Energy Security

 

The Department sought to identify the role that domestic production of green hydrogen could play in reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels and enhancing Ireland’s security of supply.