Future hydrogen economy

Gas Networks Ireland is committed to supporting Ireland’s ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Irish gas network will play a central role in our future clean energy and hydrogen economies by connecting hydrogen production, storage and end-users within hydrogen clusters as they emerge at port locations and at other sites around the country.  

It is anticipated that regional hydrogen demand clusters will develop in the early 2030s and it will be during the mid to late 2030s that the national hydrogen network will emerge. Further work is needed to determine the optimal locations of these regional clusters, with certain regions such as Cork, Shannon, and Dublin, amongst others, appearing to be well positioned given their offshore renewable potential, ports infrastructure and proximity to industry, power generation and heavy transport end-uses.  

Gas Networks Ireland will play a pivotal role in securing energy system resilience through medium term and long-term. This will be in the form of inter-seasonal storage and/or the import and export of green hydrogen through the repurposing of one of the interconnectors with the UK. This will allow for the optimisation and full potential of renewable electricity generation forms in Ireland, by utilising excess generation that would otherwise be curtailed to produce green hydrogen for onward use on the gas network. 

Hydrogen gas network flowchart
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Gas Networks Ireland’s distribution pipes will be capable of transporting pure hydrogen via repurposing parts of the network. ACER estimate that the costs of repurposing natural gas pipes to transport pure hydrogen is around 10-15% of the cost of construction of new hydrogen networks while the European Hydrogen Backbone study states that the “the capital cost per km of refurbished hydrogen pipelines would amount to c.33% of the cost of newly built hydrogen pipelines.“ 

Phase 1 Getting the existing gas network ready to accept blends of hydrogen / natural gas at the Moffat Interconnection Point in Scotland and accept green hydrogen injection at certain points on the gas network. 2022 - 2025
Phase 2 Support the development of hydrogen clusters, including the production, storage, transport and end-use of green hydrogen at key locations. 2023 - 2030
Phase 3 Hydrogen networks are developed to link to these clusters, providing resilience to the energy system and access to decarbonisation for gas dependent customers not in proximity to the clusters. 2030 - 2035
Phase 4 Repurposing one of the existing gas interconnectors to enable green hydrogen export / import, providing energy system resilience and access to the UK and European hydrogen networks. 2035 - 2040