UK and Ireland to sign wind export MoU

IRELAND: The Irish and UK governments are to sign a memorandum of understanding to export wind power across the Irish Sea to Wales.

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The move would allow the Republic of Ireland to build onshore wind farms and deliver the energy back to the UK and help meet the country's 2020 targets.

Current estimates are that Ireland needs less than 5GW to meet its 2020 renewables target, with most of this coming from onshore wind. It is therefore in a better position to export energy.

For the UK, using Irish onshore wind farms is seen by some observers as a cheaper form of offshore energy.

Electricity would be transferred to the UK grid via an electricity connection between Dublin and north Wales. However, developers will each need to lay their own cables.

One potential drawback could be having to gain the necessary permitting licenses in the two countries for the lines to be built.

The UK and Ireland have been in talks since 2011, when the two countries signed an agreement to develop offshore wind farms around the Irish coast.

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