BNM unveils €1.6 billion programme as peat burning reductions continue

Bord na Móna has unveiled a €1.6 billion development programme as part of the next phase of its restructuring towards decarbonisation, according to company CEO Tom Donnellan.

It was also confirmed that Bord na Móna has concluded its agreement with the ESB to supply two power stations to the end of 2020.

Earlier today, Wednesday, October 16, the company outlined how the next phase will support employees to transition away from peat-based activities into opportunities in Bord na Móna’s green businesses and peatland rehabilitation activities.

‘Brown to Green’

Speaking following the meeting of the company’s board, the chief executive said:

“We launched our Brown to Green strategy last year with a mission to transition the company away from our traditional peat-based activities towards a green, low-carbon company that will play a leadership role in building Ireland’s green economy.

“The first phase of our plan restructured the company, paid down our debt and put in place a sound financial base to fund this transformation and our green investment programme,” Donnellan said.

The next phase of the company’s plan will see a €1.6 billion development programme that will benefit the midlands and is “strongly aligned to Government policies”, according to Bord na Móna.

The programme comprises of:
  • Investments of over €1.5 billion in renewable energy development to support Ireland’s 70% RES-E target and create up to 150 indirect construction jobs – the first part of this plan will be delivered when the €180 million Oweninny wind farm becomes fully operational before the end of the year;
  • Investments of over €60 million in waste recycling and resource recovery to create approximately 100 new jobs;
  • Investment of over €20 million in new green business projects that have the potential to create between 150 and 300 new jobs over the next five years.

The firm estimates that, by 2025, 80% of its employment base and revenue will come from green, low carbon and sustainable businesses.

Transition

It was noted that a significant section of the workforce will be migrated into peatland rehabilitation “and other opportunities” under the coming phase, while the volume of peat burned in ESB power stations will be reduced and peat-related activities scaled back.

On the company’s transition, Donnellan said:

I can confirm we have concluded an agreement with ESB to supply peat to their two midlands power stations through to the end of 2020.

“To provide opportunities for those impacted by the reduction in peat harvesting, we are in discussion with our department about accelerating a programme of enhanced rehabilitation of peatlands that will see potential redeployment positions for approximately 200 employees.

“This will be the biggest peatland rehabilitation programme ever undertaken, is of international importance and will yield significant benefits in terms of biodiversity, carbon emissions mitigation and carbon sequestration.”

Bord na Móna will also create opportunities in its waste recycling businesses and new green business projects, while also continuing its existing voluntary redundancy scheme.

“The support of Minister Bruton and the Government is crucial to ensuring we achieve a fair and equitable result for all.

“We look forward to working closely with the Just Transition Commissioner to be appointed by the minister to work in a constructive way to deal with the challenges posed by decarbonisation,” Donnellan concluded.

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