Mayo-based renewable energy developer Mercury Renewables has submitted the first-ever Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID) planning application to An Bord Pleanála for a €200m utility-scale integrated wind farm and green hydrogen project.
The planned development would produce 4.5m kilograms of green hydrogen per year once fully operational in what would be a significant milestone for the Irish renewables sector.
The project, known as Firlough, on the Mayo-Sligo border has already been deemed of national strategic importance to the state and the area by ABP. Its projected output would be enough to fuel 16,665 cars, 667 lorries, 1,397 buses or 125 trains per year.
The hydrogen plan will use renewable energy from the Firlough wind farm to split water into environmentally-friendly green hydrogen and oxygen with no emissions or harmful by-products through a process called electrolysis.
The planning application consists of a 78MW, 13-turbine wind farm as well as the proposed hydrogen plant, which is expected to create between 100 to 150 jobs during construction and between 10 to 20 further full time and part time jobs on completion.
Tim Bills-Everett, COO of Mercury Renewables, said, “we started investigating the feasibility of producing green hydrogen in the West of Ireland back in 2020, mostly due to its world class wind resource but also because of the surplus electricity the Firlough Wind Farm is expected to produce. Our Firlough Wind Farm and Green Hydrogen project will act as a catalyst to attract new business to the region, potentially creating hundreds of new jobs in addition to those directly related to the project.”
“Firlough represents a significant step forward in establishing an Irish Green Hydrogen economy, with the West of Ireland at the forefront. We are already in discussions with several multinational companies regarding the supply of our green hydrogen for use in transportation and industry. We are delighted to see the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications share our vision in the National Hydrogen Strategy under its banner of Kickstarting Production.
“Our primary focus since the feasibility study has been to decarbonise the transportation sector – both road and non-road mobility – as a critical green hydrogen use case for Ireland. Mercury is encouraged to see the National Hydrogen Strategy mirror this focus.”
Mercury Renewables hopes the project will commence operations during 2025, but warned that the actual date will be largely dependent on the time required by An Bord Pleanála to complete their assessment of the application.
In 2013, the company received planning permission for 21 wind turbines at the Firlough Wind Farm site which is zoned for renewable energy development.
However, due to grid constraints and the enormous potential for green hydrogen production in the region, the company then decided to seek planning for the electrolyzer plant with fewer wind turbines.
Source: Business Plus