Bord na Móna to raise €1.6 billion for climate action projects

Bord na Móna is to raise €1.6 billion to fund a series of climate action projects across its 200,000ac landholding.

The company has appointed Goodbody Corporate Finance to manage the fundraising for a series of large-scale climate action projects, including: wind energy; solar energy; battery storage; biomass; and renewable gas.

Chief executive of Bord na Móna Tom Donnellan said that the company hopes to “help Ireland become carbon neutral by 2050”.

In 2018, the company adopted its ‘Brown to Green’ strategy, with a mission to transition the company away from its traditional peat-based activities towards a green, low-carbon company. 

Bord na Móna said it has six major projects currently in planning and construction phases, and that the company is “already generating 10% of Irish renewable electricity and is on track to achieve a 300% increase in its renewable energy output in this decade”.

By 2030, Bord na Móna expects to generate enough renewable energy to supply “nearly a third of all Irish homes”.

RESS-1

This funding announcement follows the company’s recent success in the first competitive auction under the government’s new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS-1).

Two Bord na Móna wind energy projects were successful in their bids, winning 158MW total capacity in the auction; representing a massive 25% of the total capacity awarded.

Last week, the European Commission proposed cutting 55% of Europe’s emissions by 2030, up from its previous goal of 40% and said it would use hundreds of billions of euros worth of green bonds to help fund the target.

The European Commission funding plan will make €225 billion available for climate action projects across the union.

Bord na Móna’s exit from coal sees net debt drop

Despite a number of costs generated from Bord na Móna’s “strategic transition to a low-carbon business”, the company’s net loss of €22.5 million in the last year was half of that compared to the previous fiscal year.

This financial period was marked by the continued implementation of Bord na Móna’s Brown to Green strategy, which “maps the move away from peat and the company’s diversification into a range of low-carbon, sustainable operations”.

Donnellan said that during this transition, the company has “exited its coal and other loss-making businesses, simplified peat harvesting and cut the overhead cost structure of the company by 40%”.

“The transition away from carbon-intensive business was highlighted in this financial year as demand for peat was reduced and ESB announced it would close its midlands power stations in December 2020.”