ESB and Coillte to discuss new renewable energy projects

The ESB has said that it is in discussion with Coillte regarding new renewable energy projects after which could deliver 1,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity by 2030.

According to an ESB statement, the bilateral talks are aimed at setting up a joint venture following the two companies’ “successful track record” collaborating on two other projects: Raheenleagh and Castlepook wind farms, in Co. Wicklow and Co. Cork respectively.

The new projects, if successful, will dramatically increase the production capacity of Irish renewable energy installations; the Raheenleagh and Castlepook installations currently churn out 70MW.

According to the ESB, construction will start in the early 2020s, pending the necessary approval process.

The ESB’s statement claimed that the projects would be “sensitively located” and will build on the two companies’ “long experience of working with communities across the country”.

Wind and agri-emissions

Last Friday (February 8), a former TD said that wind energy could offset all of Ireland’s agricultural emissions.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, Pat Cox – who was also the President of the European Parliament from 2002 to 2004, said that the wind around Ireland’s shores had the potential to produce 15 to 25 gigawatts (1,000 MW).

If Ireland harvested that wind, and exported [the wind energy] to a third country, up to a degree of five gigawatts, that would be the equivalent carbon offset of the entire output of Irish agriculture, and it would make €50 to €60 million per terawatt [1,000 gigawatts] exported.

Meanwhile, public support for wind energy appears to be on the rise, according to a survey from the end of last year.

According to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), who carried out the survey during November, four out of five people said they were in favour of wind-based electricity production, with over half of them “strongly in favour”.

The same survey showed that 55% of rural residents backed wind power, a 12% increase on an identical survey in 2017.