Cork tipped to lead transport energy revolution

Cork is poised to lead a transport energy revolution, one of the country’s leading energy bosses has predicted.

Cork tipped to lead transport energy revolution

Neil O’Carroll, the lead executive with oil giant Phillips 66 in Ireland, was speaking at an Energy Cork breakfast briefing yesterday where executives from ESB and Bord Gáis Networks unveiled plans to revolutionise low emission transport in Ireland.

The ESB confirmed it will install 30 electric car power points across the county — increasing the numbers from 56 to 86 — with 15 new charge points in the city.

Bord Gáis Networks confirmed Ireland’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling facility for commercial vehicles is to be built in Cork before the end of the year.

Dan Fitzpatrick, strategic planning manager for CNG with Bord Gáis Networks, said CNG-powered vehicles can achieve fuel savings of up to 40% over petrol and diesel, with emissions cut by about a third.

He said that following trials in Cork with Bus Éireann last summer, Bord Gáis Networks is now putting its first fast-fill refuelling station into Cork before the end of the year.

Conor Cooney, infrastructure planning engineer with ESB ecars, said there were more than 400 electric vehicles (EV) now in Ireland and the technology is advancing rapidly, with journey ranges of 200km now possible.

He said the rolling out of more charge points in Cork city and county was further evidence of the region’s embracing of new energy technologies, and will help make it easier for people to make the switch to EVs.

Mr O’Carroll, who as head of Phillips 66 oversees the country’s only oil refinery at Whitegate and the State’s largest oil storage facility in Bantry Bay, is also chairman of Energy Cork, an industry-led think tank set up to develop energy projects that can create jobs.

He said the new EV power points and the CNG refuelling station will position the region as a test-bed for both commercial and private technology advances that will power the transport of the future.

“The location of Ireland’s first CNG refuelling facility in the city will mean that commercial fleets can begin to operate in and around Cork,” he said.

“Similarly, the expansion in the number of electric vehicle charge points will make electric vehicles a very familiar sight on Cork’s roads very soon.

“Energy Cork is keen to support the expansion of both electric vehicle and CNG-fuelled vehicles and we firmly believe that Cork is uniquely placed to be a national test-bed and leader in the expansion of both technologies and their supporting infrastructure.”

Energy Cork is supported by Cork City Council and Cork County Council through their Economic Development Funds which see 1% of the commercial rates collected by both councils dedicated to enterprise support and job creation.

Its steering group includes 12 industry representatives and 12 local authority, educational, business development, and energy stakeholders.

Power hub

- Cork accounts for about 13% of Ireland’s energy use and supplies 25% of national energy requirements.

- Cork stores over 80% of Ireland’s strategic oil reserves as well as being the location for all indigenous refining of petroleum products; 40% of Ireland’s oil products are supplied from the region.

- 100% of Ireland’s indigenous natural gas is produced in the region (roughly 8% of national requirements).

- 14% of Ireland’s electricity production is produced in Cork.

- 19% of wind energy comes from the region.

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