Ahead of the imminent publication of the hydrogen strategy for Ireland, Energy Minister Eamon Ryan TD comments on its significance and balancing stakeholder confidence with a coherent policy position.
The imminent hydrogen strategy for Ireland represents a key part of the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve its climate targets. The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has stated in the National Energy Security Framework, published on 13 April 2022, that the development of an integrated hydrogen strategy for Ireland is to be prioritised, in line with the Climate Action Plan.
A key aspect of the Programme for Government is a commitment to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions, committing to an average reduction of 7 per cent per year from 2021 to 2030, a 51 per cent reduction over the decade, and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The Programme for Government recognises the importance of researching and developing green hydrogen for use as a zero-emission energy source in difficult-to-decarbonise sectors such as transport and industry.
Green hydrogen has been identified in the Climate Action Plan as having the potential to support decarbonisation across several sectors including heavy goods transport, high temperature heat for industry and electricity generation. The plan envisages that green hydrogen could play a significant role in sector coupling (the increased integration of energy supply and end-use sectors), and in minimising the overall cost of decarbonisation across all sectors.
Specific actions relating to hydrogen set out in the Annex of Actions include testing the technical feasibility of safely injecting green hydrogen blends in the gas grid, assessing the potential for system integration between the electricity and gas networks, which will include the production, storage, and use of green hydrogen, and progressing research and pilot studies regarding the use of hydrogen in the transport sector.
There are a number of other actions, such as those concerning renewable energy in the heat sector, where hydrogen is a relevant factor. Further measures set out in the plan include incentivising electrolyser production, developing storage capacity for long duration and seasonal storage of renewable energy, and colocation of electrolysers with renewable energy production infrastructure.
Hydrogen provides us with an incredible opportunity in Ireland. It provides the potential for long-duration energy storage, dispatchable renewable electricity, the decarbonisation of some parts of high-temperature processing; as well as a potential export market opportunity, given Ireland’s offshore renewable potential.
It is vital that Ireland realises the full potential of green hydrogen in decarbonising our economy and energy systems, and we are taking important steps to achieve this. The imminent hydrogen strategy for Ireland represents a key part of the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve its climate targets.
The strategy will provide certainty to industry on the role and priority end uses that hydrogen is envisioned to play in decarbonising our economy, delivering an important first step in the establishment of a significant hydrogen industry in Ireland. But this is just the start. If Ireland can harness the opportunities offered by hydrogen, we can achieve our goals of a secure, integrated, zero-carbon energy system and possibly even become a net exporter of clean renewable energy.