The Government is to build a new floating gas storage facility for Liquified Natural Gas to use as a strategic emergency reserve in case of global supply disruptions.
It is one of 28 actions included in its new and long-awaited energy security strategy launched today.
The plan is to pay for the construction and operation of the new storage facility through an additional levy on gas usage in the years ahead.
The floating gas storage facility will be an enormous, specialised ship in a deepwater port facility at a location in Ireland that has yet to be identified.
It will store natural gas at temperatures as low as minus 161 degrees Celsius, the temperature needed to ensure it remains stable and liquified.
The ship will have to be big enough to store enough gas to cover 12 consecutive days of the highest possible peak gas demand for the entire country.
So far there is no change to the Government’s commitment not to use environmentally damaging fracked gas.
This so-called floating gas reserve, or FSRU, is perhaps the most striking and strategically important new measures included in the new Energy Security Strategy launched by the Minister for Environment, Climate, and communications.
The energy security strategy makes it clear that increased energy efficiency, reductions in demand for gas and oil, and the electrification – using renewable energy – of everything from heating, to transport to production processes is key to a more energy secure future.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Transport Eamon Ryan said that the new strategy document ensures that climate action and the security of energy security will go hand in hand to deliver a sustainable transition to a carbon neutral energy system by 2050.
He described it as a roadmap to ensuring a sustainable, affordable and secure energy landscape that balances energy risk and resilience against binding European and domestic energy and climate commitments.
He also highlighted other measures as the most important actions within the new energy security strategy. These include moving to an electricity-led energy supply system; reducing natural gas demand and develop renewable indigenous gas supply and storage; ensure robust future oil supplies into the State, and anticipating risks.
Mr Ryan said the approach presented today integrates energy, climate, enterprise, and digitalisation policy ambitions so that Ireland’s energy future is clear and certain.
“Ireland is currently one of the most energy import-dependent countries in the EU. By reducing our import dependency through our energy efficiency measures and our investment in a diverse number of renewable energy sources, Ireland will reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels and dramatically reduce our exposure to energy shocks,” he said.