I thank the Cathaoirleach for accepting this matter for discussion. It relates to a very pertinent contemporary issue, and I appreciate the fact that he recognises this. I thank the Minister of State for being here to answer questions on it and to inform the House of any developments.
We can be thankful that the debate on the science of climate change is effectively over. There are very few naysayers left. It is now a matter of implementing solutions and deciding how to address the problem. To be technical, there is what is called blue hydrogen and there is green hydrogen. Green hydrogen has potential as an energy supply that involves no carbon emissions. It could be very productive in that regard. It was recently recognised at a very high level in a speech by an Taoiseach at a meeting of the shared island forum held in Dublin Castle on 9 December 2021 when he said:
We will [...] work to develop with [...] the UK Government a cross-border pilot project on green hydrogen for the road network. We stand ready to resource an agreed project
That commitment was made. Will the Minister of State tell me what steps have been taken in that regard?
The main source for what I will say here is a report commissioned by Green Tech Skillnet in partnership with Wind Energy Ireland and Skillnet Ireland. That report forms the basis of my comments today. It says that long-term strategies for the use of green hydrogen have been developed in jurisdictions as diverse as Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, the UK and the EU and notes that, following COP26, green hydrogen targets in these regions were raised. The background is that this is a live issue that needs to be advanced.
The main possible source of green hydrogen in this country is wind turbines. Our domestic wind turbines, which are mainly on-land wind turbines, are not enough. We need to take advantage of the great potential for offshore wind turbines, particularly off the south-west coast. We have some of the greatest potential in Europe in this regard. There should be a surplus of wind energy. We should ultimately be able to supply the domestic market while also having the potential for exports, according to this report.
There is a definite role for green hydrogen in meeting Ireland's energy needs. The report tells us we now have the technology to utilise it and the economic and political will is there. It is, of course, easier for the larger industrial countries but green hydrogen could potentially be used for power generation here in, for example, Moneypoint or Whitegate. It could also be used as aviation fuel or shipping fuel. There is also the potential to export it. Ultimately, it will be possible to use it in lorries. Injecting a blend including 20% green hydrogen into the national gas pipelines is technically achievable. That is something we should be doing. We need to get a pilot project up and running in order to collect evidence. I am running out of time but those are some of the main issues. I will come back in with some figures at the end. In essence, I want the Minister of State to tell me where we are with regard to moving towards green hydrogen and creating the modus operandi in that regard. Where do we stand and where do we plan to go? What steps are being taken?