Bord Gáis Energy, part of Centrica plc, has joined ESB and dCarbonX on the Kestrel project which proposes the re-development of decommissioned gas reservoirs at the Kinsale Head gas field offshore Ireland for large-scale green hydrogen storage.
ESB and dCarbonX, an associate company to Snam, have been working on the assessment and development of Irish offshore green hydrogen subsurface storage opportunities since 2021.
Now, Bord Gáis Energy will join the two companies in the project on a co-equal basis.
“Both ESB and Bord Gáis Energy operate significant electrical generation capacity at their onshore Aghada and Whitegate gas-fired power stations in Cork. The integration of essential large-scale storage will support the transition of these stations to net zero emissions in the future”, the partners stated.
The Kestrel project is seen as an opportunity to deliver large-scale energy security of supply for Ireland which in turn will support the expansion of renewable energy production (wind and solar) and facilitate the development of an indigenous green hydrogen sector in Ireland in the years ahead.
Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy, commented: “Decarbonising Ireland’s energy system while maintaining security of supply is critical in the context of our growing economy. As we help to deliver the green transition, there will be an ever-increasing role for gas and ultimately green hydrogen and we are delighted to partner with ESB and dCarbonX and deliver the infrastructure for a greener future. Together with the support of Centrica, we have the skills, vision and financial backing to help Ireland achieve its ambitious Climate Action Plan targets.”
Jim Dollard, ESB Executive Director, Generation and Trading, said: “Mirroring the developments across Europe, ESB recognises the importance of large-scale energy storage and the role that green hydrogen will play in enabling a net zero future. Bord Gáis Energy’s entry into the Kestrel Project is to be welcomed and will be vital to deliver this key strategic asset that can that help Ireland to meet its climate objectives, whilst also supporting energy security.”
Tony O’Reilly, dCarbonX CEO, added: “The participation of Bord Gáis Energy in the Kestrel Project is a perfect fit given their extensive experience and exemplary track record operating in the Cork Harbour region. In addition, their parent company Centrica, a leading international energy player, operates the UK’s largest gas storage facility at the offshore Rough field, which is also being assessed for future hydrogen storage potential. These capabilities, combined with those of ESB and our shareholder Snam, provide a significant strategic capability that can deliver large-scale energy storage for the benefit of Ireland.”
Phase one of the project involves using the depleted gas fields at Kinsale and Ballycotton for gas storage, taking advantage of the location and remaining infrastructure already in place to provide a critical energy storage facility. Natural gas is needed until green hydrogen becomes the fuel of choice for a decarbonized electricity sector and until there is surplus hydrogen production requiring storage.
Phase two involves transitioning the facility to the storage of green hydrogen.
Supported by global technology company CGG, the project has recently completed the construction of a proprietary digital simulation – digital twin – of the Kinsale Head area depleted gas reservoirs which mimics the 42 years of gas production from the area.
According to its developers, the Kestrel Project is committed to the future delivery of green hydrogen storage in Ireland to ultimately supplant the use of fossil fuels with Ireland’s wind resources providing an opportunity for the production of green hydrogen.