A Clean Energy Future for Ireland

About the Project

Ireland must use more renewable energy sources as required by European legislation to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 51% from 2021 to 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2023 aims to have renewables account for 80% of power by 2030.

To achieve these goals, Ireland needs to improve flexibility and storage capacity in its electricity generation infrastructure to adapt quickly to changes in renewable electricity supply and demand. Pumped hydroelectric power stations, like the Silvermines Hydro, are a proven technology that can provide the necessary flexibility and storage capabilities at a large scale.

Silvermines Hydro can directly contribute to reaching these targets as a grid-scale renewable energy source. Implementing Silvermines Hydro offers various operational and cost advantages to the Irish electricity system, as well as broader societal and environmental benefits.

Project Benefits

Silvermines Hydro is an important project with national benefits for Ireland. It provides a technical solution to prioritise environmental preservation, decarbonisation efforts, and security of energy supply. It offers economic value exceeding €2.6 billion over its lifespan. The Project will create jobs in rural areas and repurpose a disused mining site. 

The benefits of Silvermines Hydro include:

  • Improving the stability of the Irish power system
  • Security of Irelands energy supply
  • Supporting economics of renewable energy sources by reducing curtailment and efficiently using generated electricity to meet demand
  • Contributing to CO2 emission reduction
  • Providing system services, replacing less efficient fossil fuel generation, and enabling balanced energy provision
  • Enhancing competitiveness and lowering electricity expenses
  • Attracting private capital, with a €650 million capital investment
  • New employment opportunities, with 400 jobs during peak construction, 50 permanent positions, and additional indirect service employment options.

> Return to top

Project Promoters

Silvermines Hydro is being developed by Siga-Hydro Limited.  Siga-Hydro Limited is focused on strategic asset development in the clean energy and renewable sector.  The company and its partners have experience developing, designing, constructing and operating safe and innovative energy technologies and infrastructure investments.

Siga-Hydro Limited is bringing private capital to the project and will assume the majority of the project risks.

> Return to top

Ireland’s Decarbonisation

The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 commits Ireland to achieve a 51% reduction in overall GHG emissions from 2021 to 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Further, Ireland’s Climate Action Plans 2021, 2022 and 2023 aim to use renewables for 80% of power by 2030. Silvermines Hydro can directly contribute to this target as a grid-scale renewable energy source.

> Return to top


Ireland’s Innovative Hydro Power

Ireland has a long and positive history with hydropower, including its role in supporting industrial development and economic growth.

At a very basic level, hydropower was used in ‘tide-mills’ to drive the first mechanical processes.  Much later, in 1920s, the hydroelectric power station in Ardnacrusha – one of the great engineering feats in the history of the State – led to the electrification of Ireland.  The pumped hydroelectric power station in Turlough Hill was developed to support the efficient running of coal, oil and gas power plants in the 1970s.  Both of these hydroelectric stations operate today and provide valuable security to Ireland’s electricity supply.

The transition to using renewable sources to meet electricity demand, while at the same time reducing carbon emissions, requires the Irish electricity system to fundamentally change.  The increased flexibility offered by grid-scale electricity storage, such as Silvermines Hydro, can facilitate this.

Nendrum Monastery, Northern Ireland

The use of hydropower on the island of Ireland dates back as far as 619AD, with the Nendrum Monastery tide-mill in Northern Ireland. The watermill was a structure that used a water wheel or water turbine to drive a mechanical process such as milling (grinding), rolling, or hammering. From that time, such processes evolved and were needed in the production of many material goods, including flour, lumber, paper, textiles, and many metal products.

Ardnacrusha, County Clare

The Shannon hydroelectric Scheme was a major development by the Irish Free State in the 1920s. The total capacity is 85MW and full output equates to about 332,000MWh generated on an annual basis. The plant enabled an enormous surge in demand for electricity across the country and led to the electrification of Ireland.

Turlough Hill Pumped Storage

Ireland’s only pumped hydroelectric storage plant, Turlough Hill comprises 4 reversible pump turbines with a combined capacity of 292MW, with approximately 573,000MWh annual storage capacity.

The power station is designed to generate electricity at times of peak demand and is instantly dispatchable.  It is providing grid stabilisation services to safely and securely manage the Irish electricity system.

Silvermines Pumped Storage

The proposed Silvermines Hydro’s 360MW plant offers approximately 650,000MWh annual storage capacity.  It is planned to offer the latest technological advancements to ensure very fast delivery of grid support services and to allow variable pumping load to match variable output from renewables such as wind power.

The increasing penetration of renewables and unregulated power to the system has increased the relevance of grid-scale electricity storage as a reliable and economic way of stabilising the grid and efficiently managing the Irish power system.

Active Supporters Group

We are very interested to hear from you and are currently collecting names for our Active Supporters Group. If you support the project and would like to join the group please contact us at asg@silvermineshydro.ie. For any other query please visit our contact page.

Joining our Active Supporters Group is a simple and powerful way to express your support for the Project. We really appreciate any support, comments or ideas. We look forward to keeping the Silvermines Active Supporters Group up to date on all aspects of the Project.