What is Ireland’s Energy Hub?
Ireland’s Energy Hub, located around Cork Harbour, comprises the country’s most strategically important cluster of energy infrastructure, businesses and research facilities.
The Energy Hub supplies over 25% of Ireland’s energy demands, is home to 20% of Ireland’s electricity generating capacity and the country’s only oil refinery. Many of the largest energy companies in Ireland are represented within the Energy Hub or in the wider Cork region. There is also a strong concentration of engineering service providers in support of these industries.
Cork County Council have designated a large, important area adjacent to Whitegate Refinery for use for major energy related developments.
Cork Harbour is the world’s second largest natural harbour and has been a major military, maritime and industrial hub for centuries. The Harbour is home to the world’s oldest yacht club – the Royal Cork Yacht Club.
Energy Cork, the industry cluster for the energy sector in Cork, supports closer co-operation between the stakeholders within and around Ireland’s Energy Hub, including local residents, and the sensible development of the Energy Hub to drive employment and economic activity locally, regionally and nationally.
Why is the Energy Hub so attractive?
Ireland’s Energy Hub at Cork Harbour includes:
- A zoned Special Policy Area of 388 Ha (960 Acres) at Whitegate, prioritised for major, large-scale energy and renewable energy related development, including port related activities and bulk storage and processing activities. Smaller scale opportunities are also catered for with an additional site of just over 30 Ha zoned for small to medium scale energy related development such as Research & Development, transport and manintenance.
- Ireland’s only oil refinery, operated by Irving Oil, supplying almost 40% of transport and liquid heating fuels in Ireland,
- The Whitegate Power Station, a new combined cycle gas turbine power station, owned and run by Bórd Gáis Energy, with an electrical generation capacity of 445 MW,
- The Aghada Power Station, operated by ESB, with combined cycle, thermal and peaking gas fired generation capacity of 963 MW as well as black start capability,
- The Onshore Terminal for the Kinsale Area Gas Fields and associated infrastructure, for many years the only producing natural gas fields in Ireland and with the potential to support further offshore developments.
- Crocane Wind Farm and the Cork Lower Harbour Energy Group’s Wind Developments in Ringaskiddy. Both are representative of the region’s extensive wind energy deployment, representing over 17% of Ireland’s installed wind power.
- The Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) at Ringaskiddy – making Cork a world-class hub of marine renewables and offshore research and training.
- Port of Cork is the key seaport in the south of Ireland, offering six shipping models – lift-on lift-off, roll-on roll-off, liquid bulk, dry bulk, break bulk and cruise liners. The Port has significant advantages as a supply base to the energy industry including:
- A favourable location
- Deep water port
- Servicing of supply vessels at all stages of the tide
- Substantial open and covered storage capacity
- Experienced personnel and service companies
- Ship-repair and dry-dock facilities in the Harbour
- The Energy Hub is served by Cork Airport (approx 30 minutes away), the Port of Cork and excellent road and rail links.
- Both University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology offer a range of energy related courses and associated research.
- Cork harbour is home to major facilities of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and life-sciences companies. This means that there is an abundance of world-class engineering, IT, smart monitoring and project management skills in the region.
The concentration and tradition of activity, employment, innovation and research in the Energy Hub region is unique in Ireland. As well as providing energy and fuel that drives our economy, it is an important hub for energy related employment and associated economic activity. It also provides an opportunity to attract foreign direct investment in the broad energy sector.
How can the Energy Hub help drive the local, regional and national economy?
Ireland’s Energy Hub is already home to major employers and strategically important energy infrastructure. It is an ideal place in which to do business, particularly within the energy sector and has a proven record of delivering energy projects.
Energy Cork’s goal, in support of the employers and research organisations within Ireland’s Energy Hub, is to advertise and promote the unique position of the Hub in the Irish context.
Energy Cork will work with IDA and other partners to brand the Energy Hub as the place to do business in the energy sector in Ireland.
The Cork Harbour region has an established track record in facilitating and supporting major industrial developments, with a strong pro-business and technically skilled workforce and culture. This sits very comfortably alongside the Harbour’s great natural beauty and amenity value.
Cork Harbour, and the Energy Hub area in particular, is a world class example of successful, holistic development and a model for stakeholder cooperation. Chief amongst these stakeholders are the families and communities that make their home in the area that hosts:
- energy intensive industry
- energy production
- academic research
- marine activities
The excellent relationships between all stakeholders, and especially the community support of sensitive, sustainable development in the area is a testament to the value of community engagement and cooperation.
This document does not propose any new development. It is intended to further the positive relationships between stakeholders and begin a discussion around the nature and value of the Energy Hub to the local, regional and national economy.