THE thrust for alternative and renewable sources of energy in Ireland appears to be unstoppable.
From earth (heat pumps), wind and fire in the form of solar energy, the momentum is gathering apace. Apart from its obvious benefit to the planet, harnessing these renewables could make us self-sufficient in energy and obviate the need to import billions of Euros worth of fossil fuels - a win-win for Irish industry.
The latest project is by Eirwind, a UCC-led consortium on offshore renewable energy which is due to publish a 30-year strategy this week. One of its main proposals is to designate Cork harbour as a pilot hub for converting offshore wind to hydrogen energy.
Converting wind to hydrogen is a fascinating idea. The Dutch have already take the lead on this with a project in the North Sea that will see green hydrogen produced on an offshore oil and gas platform using electricity from offshore wind. But Ireland is considered an ideal location for offshore wind production. Falling development costs and new technology are among the factors that have made Ireland an attractive emerging market.
As our report today reveals, Ireland has more offshore wind resource than energy demand and could become a hydrogen exporter. With no oil of substance and little natural gas, the notion of Ireland becoming a major net exporter of energy was always considered fanciful. Not any more.