Despite slow progress, Ireland has strong potential for developing a low carbon hydrogen economy

Ireland is making strides towards a low carbon hydrogen economy, with the potential to climb up the ranks of Cornwall Insight’s Hydrogen Index1. While currently holding the lowest ranking in the Index, Ireland has announced plans to publish a “policy and regulatory roadmap for green hydrogen use” in 2023. This, alongside the government response to the consultation on the development of a hydrogen strategy means Ireland is taking steps to make significant progress and potentially move up the Index rankings.  

The Cornwall Insight Hydrogen Index ranks the 14 countries which had the most potential to develop advanced low carbon hydrogen economies when the index launched in 2022. The criteria include finance, comprehensiveness of the strategy, and capacity and infrastructure requirements. Ireland does not currently have a dedicated hydrogen strategy but one is due in the second quarter of 2023 and the Climate Action Plan 2023, shows they will be working towards implementing this by the end of the decade.

Low carbon hydrogen, which is produced from sources other than fossil fuels, is a very versatile energy source and will have an important role to play in meeting Ireland’s target for net zero, especially in the decarbonisation of the industrial sector. It could have the biggest impact in industries that use high-temperature heating, such as cement and glass manufacturing, where hydrogen can substitute fossil fuels.

Looking at other countries in the Low Carbon Hydrogen Index, despite improvements across many of the nations, Germany has retained the top spot as it continues to prove its commitment to developing an advanced low carbon hydrogen economy. Most notably, the German government has increased its ambitions by committing to an additional 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production by 2035 if possible and 2040 at the latest, bringing its total target capacity to 15GW.

Table 1 – Index rankings and change from the previous release (March 2022):

Jamie Maule, Research Analyst at Cornwall Insight:

“As Ireland moves towards achieving net zero emissions, the importance of low carbon hydrogen in facilitating decarbonisation has become a major topic of discussion. While there may be ongoing debates about its applicability within the domestic context, Ireland’s commitment to developing a strategy for implementing a low carbon economy could be a crucial step in decarbonising its industrial sector, as hydrogen can function as a feedstock, a reducing agent, and source of high-grade heat.

“There has been no movement for Ireland on Cornwall Insight’s Hydrogen Index but there are promising signs on the horizon. The government has expressed a willingness to release a roadmap outlining policies and regulations that, if implemented, could establish Ireland as a key player in the global hydrogen market, especially with its abundant offshore wind potential. By committing to these changes and providing regulatory clarity, Ireland can improve its standing on the index, with hydrogen able to provide some of the renewables and storage options that Ireland desperately needs to take a step toward becoming a more energy-secure and sustainable nation.”


  1. Indicators:

A range of indicators, subject to differing weightings, have been utilised in the production of this index. They are listed as follows without regard to importance or weighted value:

  • Comprehensiveness of national hydrogen strategy
  • Timelines for hydrogen implementation
  • Hydrogen capacity and infrastructure targets
  • Hydrogen storage and network targets
  • Committed government funding for hydrogen
  • Financing mechanisms for research and development
  • Financing mechanisms for infrastructure development
  • Review process for national hydrogen strategy


Notes to Editors

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About the Cornwall Insight Group

Cornwall Insight is the pre-eminent provider of research, analysis, consulting and training to businesses and stakeholders engaged in the Australian, Great British, and Irish energy markets. To support our customers, we leverage a powerful combination of analytical capability, a detailed appreciation of regulation codes and policy frameworks, and a practical understanding of how markets function.