Bechtel to deliver port masterplan to support Ireland’s emerging offshore wind industry
Shannon Foynes Port expansion will enhance its status as key hub for European trade and renewable energy
Focus in updated plan will be on Estuary as a hub for floating offshore wind, hydrogen and other green fuels production and logistics
Thursday, 05 May 2022: The transformative economic and environmental potential of the Shannon Estuary as an international renewable energy and logistics hub has been reaffirmed by the appointment by Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) of Bechtel to advance its masterplan, Vision 2041.
Bechtel, a world leader in strategic planning and development of ports, will update the masterplan to maximise the opportunity emerging from offshore and onshore investment within and adjacent to its harbours in Ireland.
Vision 2041, which was launched in 2013, was Ireland’s first long-term port strategy and set out ambitious targets for the development of port infrastructure and services along the Shannon Estuary. The intervening period has seen all targets for investment and growth met by SFPC, which has now engaged Bechtel to work with it in updating the masterplan. This will have a strong focus on SFPC’s role as a key enabler of the unprecedented renewable energy opportunity from floating offshore wind off the Atlantic seaboard and related production of alternative shipping fuels that, together, will transform Shannon Foynes into a leading European port.
Planned expansion at the port, including a new 1kilometer dock with depths of over 18m alongside and associated quayside storage, will increase port capacity to 20m tons per annum and will be accommodated by up to 1,200 hectares of land zoned for strategic development.
The port’s proximity to the Atlantic wind resource provides the opportunity for it to become a major international renewable energy hub. Given the 80GW of capacity available off the Atlantic seaboard and the port proximity to this, SFPC will be a key enabler for Ireland reaching and surpassing its 20GW offshore wind target by 2050. The expanded facilities at Shannon Foynes would include hydrogen and ammonia production facilities for long-term energy storage and will also consider the export of the renewable energy/fuels produced.
Bechtel’s role will be to assess and refresh the port’s masterplan to best leverage these advantages, further boost growth and support the region’s emerging offshore wind industry.
John Williams, Bechtel’s managing director for the UK and Ireland said: “There is an increasingly strong case for investing in port infrastructure to support the growth in offshore wind and the importance of creating local supply chains cannot be underestimated. Ports act as focal points during the manufacturing, installation and operation of offshore wind farms and Shannon Foynes is strategically ideal to support Ireland’s offshore wind industry, as well as expand to play an even greater role in European shipping. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Shannon Foynes Port Company on their Masterplan update.”
Patrick Keating, Chief Executive of SFPC said: “Nine years ago, Vision 2041 was considered a very ambitious masterplan, yet we have since met all the higher end growth targets identified for
the interim period. In it we also identified the opportunity ahead for what were then only emerging sectors, such as offshore renewables. The Estuary is now viewed not alone by SFPC but the sector internationally as an emerging renewable energy supply-chain hub. In addition, there is the complementary growth potential for the estuary as a major logistics centre.
“The acceleration of these opportunities necessitates the updating of Vision 2041 so that we have a strategic roadmap for realising the unprecedented opportunity for the company, the region and, indeed, the State. This is a critical moment for us and we are delighted to have Bechtel supporting us. Bechtel’s portfolio spans infrastructure, renewables, fuel production, and financing and makes them uniquely qualified to help us maximise the benefits of our deep-water advantage and our expansion plan, along with the job creation, supplier opportunities, economic growth that it will bring. We look forward to finalising the report over the coming months and unveiling this ambition to place Ireland at the global top-table for renewable energy and logistics.”
Bechtel are global experts in ports, having delivered facilities around the globe, including Khalifa Port, the most advanced trading hub in the Middle East. Over 40 years ago, Bechtel was involved in the construction of Aughinish Alumina, the largest industrial complex on the Shannon estuary and adjacent to Foynes port. Bechtel is taking a growing position in Ireland supporting the renewal of infrastructure and the growth of renewables, having been recently appointed by daa as its integrated delivery partner for Dublin Airport’s capital investment program and also in supporting the Ervia Cork Carbon Capture Utilisation & Storage (CCUS) Project PreFEED study for the development of CO2 transport pipeline networks, liquefaction, storage, and shipping facilities for CO2 clusters in Ireland. This project is part funded by the European Commission under the Connecting Europe Facility funding instrument.
Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government. Differentiated by the quality of our people and our relentless drive to deliver the most successful outcomes, we align our capabilities to our customers’ objectives to create a lasting positive impact. Since 1898, we have helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs, grown economies, improved the resiliency of the world’s infrastructure, increased access to energy, resources, and vital services, and made the world a safer, cleaner place.
Bechtel serves the Energy; Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security & Environmental; and Mining & Metals markets. Our services span from initial planning and investment, through start-up and operations. www.bechtel.com
SFPC has statutory jurisdiction over all marine activities on the Shannon Estuary and is Ireland’s, and one of Europe’s, deepest sheltered estuaries. The estuary covers 500-kilometre square of commercial waters stretching from Kerry to Loop Head to Limerick City. Alongside the world’s busiest shipping routes and with water depths of up to 32-metres, the port is uniquely positioned to expand as a cargo hub serving the domestic, European and worldwide markets. The port is already a key enabler of industrial activity and employment in the Mid-West region of Ireland and currently has the capacity to handle over 10-million tonnes annually.