Norwegian energy giant Equinor pulls out of Irish floating offshore wind-to-green hydrogen plan

Equinor pulls out of scheme to turn old coal plant into renewables hub with floating wind and green hydrogen

ESB expects the Moneypoint coal plant to be decommissioned in 2025
ESB expects the Moneypoint coal plant to be decommissioned in 2025

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Equinor has pulled out Irish offshore wind, including its joint plan with Irish utility ESB to transform a coal plant into a renewables hub, the Norwegian utility has confirmed.

The Moneypoint project involves developing a 1.4GW floating offshore wind farm as part of a plan to transform the site of the 915MW Moneypoint coal plant located on the west coast of Ireland into a major renewables hub. The Moneypoint coal plant is due to close in 2025.

The offshore wind farm would be built in two phases: 400MW Moneypoint Offshore One Moneypoint Offshore One (400MW) Offshoreoff Counties Clare and Kerry, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details and 1000MW Moneypoint Offshore Two Moneypoint Offshore Two (1000MW) Offshoreoff Counties Clare and Kerry, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details.

Apart from offshore wind, the hub is due to include green hydrogen, turbine construction and assembly, and a synchronous compensator to regulate electricity transmission.

In a statement, Equinor explained that it had decided to “not move ahead with offshore wind in Ireland at this point”.  The Moneypoint projects were the extent of Equinor's Irish offshore wind activity.

“We have reviewed the market situation and potential investments in line with our strategy to develop profitable growth in renewables and decided not to pursue our offshore wind activities in Ireland,” a spokesperson told Windpower Monthly.

ESB stated it was disappointed with Equinor’s decision but “remains fully committed to developing and delivering a major portfolio of offshore wind projects in Irish waters”.

The utility’s cooperation with Equinor dates back to 2019. The two companies “have worked closely together to identify and develop a portfolio of offshore projects around the east, south and west coasts of Ireland,” ESB stated, adding that “significant preparation work, including foreshore licence applications, has been completed”.

Ireland has a target of 5GW of offshore wind by 2030.

ESB stated that its offshore wind projects will “make an important contribution” to achieving that target.  The first of these projects, 330MW Oriel Oriel (330MW) Offshoreoff Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, Europe Click to see full details, being developed by ESB in partnership with Parkwind, will enter into Ireland’s first offshore wind renewable auction in 2022.  

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