An international energy group and an Irish based blue economy developer have announced plans to explore the development of a renewable energy hub at the Whitegate Refinery in Cork.

Irving Oil and Simply Blue Group have signed a memorandum of understanding that could see them develop a green hydrogen plant at the location.

They will also be examining ways to connect planned offshore wind developments around the country into the hub.

Among the projects under development is a floating wind park 50km south of Cork, which is being planned by Simply Blue Group.

Simply Blue has a pipeline of over 10GW of floating offshore wind projects across the globe.

"This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Simply Blue Group, and we are excited to be working with Irving Oil as we jointly investigate the potential development of an integrated renewable energy hub at the Irving Oil Whitegate Refinery," said Sam Roch Perks, Simply Blue Groups', Group Chief Executive Officer.

"This is a potential game changer for Ireland. It presents the opportunity to become a pioneer and leader in e-Fuels, a new industry sector that will prove vital in the fight against climate change."

Privately owned and headquartered in Canada, Irving Oil bought Whitegate in 2016.

It has committed to a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and is actively working towards a net-zero target by 2050.

"At Irving Oil, we are committed to leadership through the energy transition and engaging in strong partnerships is a key part of our strategy as we all work toward a lower carbon future," said Irving Oil President Ian Whitcomb.

"The work we are starting with Simply Blue Group is another example of our energy transition strategy coming to life."

"Bringing together a key piece of energy infrastructure in Ireland – the Whitegate refinery – with Simply Blue Group’s global leadership in offshore wind development can create compelling new opportunities in Ireland."