- Project focussed on development of decommissioned reservoirs at Kinsale Head gas field for storage of green hydrogen
- Project represents unique opportunity to support Ireland’s Net Zero ambition while delivering large-scale security of supply
Issued: 9am, Sunday 29th October 2023
Bord Gáis Energy, part of Centrica plc, has joined ESB and dCarbonX in the development of the Kestrel Project. The Kestrel Project focusses on the proposed re-development of the decommissioned gas reservoirs at the Kinsale Head gas field for large-scale green hydrogen energy storage, initially of natural gas, ultimately transitioning to green hydrogen. The recently published National Hydrogen Strategy has identified that long duration storage is essential to the future cost competitiveness and price resilience of hydrogen and that geological storage solutions will be needed to support this.
Since early 2021, ESB and dCarbonX, (an associate company to Snam, Europe’s largest gas infrastructure operator), have been working together in terms of the assessment and development of Irish offshore green hydrogen subsurface storage opportunities.
The Kestrel Project represents a unique 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. 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.
Under the terms of the agreement, Bord Gáis Energy will join ESB and dCarbonX (Snam) in the project on a co-equal basis.
Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy said: “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 said:“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.”
Further details on the Kestrel Project can be found on www.H2Kestrel.ie . "Pocaire Gaoithe” is the Irish for “Kestrel” which roughly translates as “to play with the wind” – neatly making the link on the use of our wind resources to produce green hydrogen.
Safe and Secure Energy Storage As leading energy providers, ESB and Bord Gáis Energy are committed to providing both a safe and secure energy supply to their customers in Ireland. The development of green hydrogen storage capacity at scale will play a key role in a Net Zero future.
The Kestrel Project, supported by global technology and Earth Sciences company CGG, has recently completed the construction of a proprietary digital simulation of the Kinsale Head area depleted gas reservoirs. This 'digital twin', which mimics the 42 years of gas production from the area, involved a 15-person team working for six months using historical geoscience, engineering and production data. Access to such a proprietary simulation is critical in the development of any new gas storage project.
The Kestrel Project is committed to the future delivery of green hydrogen production and storage in Ireland to ultimately supplant the use of fossil fuels with Ireland’s significant wind resources providing a unique opportunity for the production of green hydrogen. Using a technique known as electrolysis, renewable electricity such as wind energy can be used to generate green hydrogen, which can be stored underground and used to generation electricity during periods of low wind energy production.