Plans for the new Bord na Móna Clean Energy Hub have been announced by the company’s chairman Mr John Horgan
Irish state-owned utility Bord na Móna has announced plans to establish a new wind energy export business, a clean energy hub which will generate 2GW when operational and create an export business worth €1billion in annual revenue. The energy generated will be enough to power 1 million homes and will be injected directly into the British and European electricity markets. It will involve the development of a number of separate wind farms principally centred on the company’s 20,000 ha of peatland in East Offaly and West Kildare with a target of 2020 to bring the project on stream.
“I am delighted to be announcing the launch of the Bord na Móna Clean Energy Hub and to issue an invitation to all other partners to join with us in preparing a single planning application” said Bord na Móna Chairman John Horgan. “Wind farms are innovative and profitable ways of continuing our mandate to extract maximum economic and social value from the lands we hold in trust for the benefit of all people of Ireland.
Assessments of Ireland’s renewable energy capacity show that our potential greatly exceeds our domestic demand, Mr Horgan added. Bord na Móna has identified a once-off opportunity to realise the potential of the vast areas of our bogs from which the commercially viable peat has been harvested, known as cutaway. European market.
“Together with partners we can deliver a project of sufficient scale to attract the support of the UK Government, be commercially viable and generate significant short and long-term benefits for the State, the Company and local communities” he said.
The announcement was also welcomed by the Irish Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte TD who was present at the launch event.
“We can see here today that cutaway bog far away from concentrations of people can be a suitable location for wind power generation. In this regard I recognise the significance of what Bord na Móna are announcing today” said Mr Rabbitte. “Yesterday I launched the first stage in a consultative process which will lead to a policy framework under which any renewable energy export projects would be regulated. I would urge Bord na Móna and other prospective developers to engage with that process. I have been working hard with my colleagues in the British government to develop a framework to allow for exports of green energy to Britain and beyond. I am very pleased that a state company like Bord na Móna is capitalising on its assets and its expertise and the demand for clean green energy for the benefit of the Irish people”
The company has also announced plans for an extensive Community Consultation Programme across the Midlands which will commencing shortly. This will see the company engage with local groups and stakeholders as it draws up its detailed planning applications over coming months. The company estimates that 2,000 jobs will created during the next seven years of construction in the region with 200 high tech maintenance and operations jobs thereafter. It will also engage with local communities to discuss the provision of direct benefits which may include a comprehensive Community Benefit Package and the development of new walking trails, biodiverse parklands and community amenity lands alongside the wind farms. These measures follow similar projects by the company in other areas such as Abbeyleix, Portarlington and Boora Parklands.