Irish utility reveals 2GW onshore plan

IRELAND: Irish utility Bord na Mona is planning to develop wind farms with a capacity of 2GW in Ireland, with a view to exporting power to the UK.

The semi-state-owned company said it will lodge applications for construction consent for the first 1GW by 2015, with a view to bringing the projects online by 2020.

The so-called Clean Energy Hub will involve the development of a number of separate wind farms that will be principally centred on the company's 200 square kilometres of peat lands in East Offaly and West Kildare in the centre of the country.

Some of the energy is intended for export to the UK in line with a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries in January. Bord na Mona said it anticipates that the new wind farms will create an export business with an annual revenue of around €1billion.

While the UK still has a long way to go to hit its 2020 renewable energy targets, Ireland is much further progressed, with less than 5GW of new capacity needed to hit its quota.

Under the memorandum, electricity would be transferred to the UK grid via an electricity connection between Dublin and north Wales.

Speaking at the launch of the project, minister for communications, energy and natural resources Pat Rabbitte said: "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."

On announcing the plans Bord na Mona also issued an invitation for partners to join them in preparing a single construction consent application.

Bord na Mona also provides energy through the harvesting and burning of peat. These wind projects will be situated on bogs that have reached the end of their productive lives.