Chairman John Horgan announced plans for the Bord na Móna Clean Energy Hub, a new green energy project that aims to generate some 2GW of electricity when fully operational and create an export business of €1bn annual revenue for the state-owned company.
Bord na Móna Clean Energy Hub will supply 2GW, enough to power some one million homes, of renewable electricity directly into the British and mainland European Electricity Market. The Clean Energy Hub will involve the development of a number of separate wind farms that will be principally centred on the company’s extensive 20,000 ha of cutaway peatlands in East Offaly and West Kildare. The company has set a target of 2020 to bring this project on stream.
Speaking at the launch, its Chairman Horgan said: “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. 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.”
Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte TD who was on hand to launch the Bruckana project welcomed the announcement. “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 is announcing today.
He added: “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 such as Bord na Móna is capitalising on its assets and its expertise and the demand for clean greenenergy for the benefit of the Irish people.”
Bord na Móna also announced plans for an extensive community consultation programme across the Midlands commencing in the coming weeks. The programme will see the company engage with local groups and stakeholders as it draws up its detailed planning applications in the coming months. The company intends to provide details on the 3,000 jobs that will be created during the next seven years of construction in the region and the 200 high-tech maintenance and operations jobs that the Clean Energy Hub will directly support thereafter.
The minister also launched a new 40mw wind farm development at Bruckana on the Bord na Móna’s cutaway peatland on the Co Laois, Kilkenny, Tipperary borders. This development underscores the company’s ability and experience in developing wind farms on cutaway peatlands having launched an 80mw windfarm in Mount Lucas Co Offaly in 2012.
Bord na Móna CEO Gabriel D’Arcy said: “Today’s announcement sees Bord na Móna exercising its responsibility to get the highest return from our natural resources by leading the way in sustainable energy production in Ireland. We intend to work with local communities and everyone in the region to secure what we intend will be a sustainable future for the Midlands built on the export of surplus renewable energy.”