The 125,000ac of bogland that are now being used to provide energy peat to three powerstations will transition to new uses by 2030, Bord na Mona has announced.
After 2030 the company will no longer harvest energy peat and will have completed its move to new sustainable businesses, located across its bogs and landholding.
According to Bord na Mona, the move will involve the rehabilitation of tens of thousands of acres of Irish bogs providing new biodiverse habitats that can also support new eco-tourism and community amenity resources.
It is believed to be the biggest change of land use in modern Irish history.
The new sustainable businesses and activities located across Bord na Mona’s bogs will include renewable energy development, domestic fuels, biomass development, resource recovery, horticulture, eco-tourism and community amenity.
The announcement came at the launch of Bord na Mona’s Sustainability 2030 Report, by Minister for Energy, Communications and Natural Resources, Alex White.
Speaking at the launch, CEO Mike Quinn said that Bord na Mona has a mandate from the Irish people to develop the natural resources located on these bogs for the benefit of the Irish people.
“That mandate means our business was, is and will remain rooted in the bogs of Ireland. For the last eight decades we have underpinned Ireland’s energy security by supplying peat from Irish bogs to powerstations.
By 2030 we will cease harvesting energy peat but we will be making sure those 125,000 acres do more.
“We will use the land to continue to underpin Ireland’s energy independence only now we will be using green sustainable energy sources such as wind, biomass and solar power,” he said.
Mike Quinn also pointed to some the environmental benefits that this change will mean.
“The move also of course means that our carbon profile, which is already falling fairly dramatically, will see a very substantial deceleration in the next decade and a half.
“Add in the positive improvements in biodiversity across vast areas of land in this country and you have a change of at least National significance,” he said.
Also speaking at the launch Bord na Mona Chairman, John Horgan, said that the announcement is an historic one for the company.
“The task of reorienting Bord na Mona from being nearly solely focused on energy peat into other business areas has been going on for some time.
“By announcing the 2030 target today we are for the first time, putting an end date on that transition period,” Horgan said.