Joining forces to build 320 MW wind farm

Bord na Móna, Ireland's leading peat producer, has joined forces with electricity supplier ESB and applied to build Ireland's largest onshore wind farm. The 210 wind turbines are planned for Bellacorick in County Mayo -- the site of the country's first ever wind farm of Nordtank (NEG Micon) turbines, built ten years ago. The 320 MW project will involve a joint investment of over EUR 300 million (I£240 million) and will offset the equivalent of 200,000 tonnes of annual oil imports. The project is to be developed over five years and will employ more than 100 people during its construction with 20 permanent jobs for its operation and maintenance. The site, which consists of cutaway and cutover peat bog, is characterised by strong, steady winds and is ideal for a large wind farm, says John Lynch, spokesman for Bord na Móna. "The wind farm development will dovetail with the scheduled closures of Bellacorick [peat-fired] power station and the associated Bord na Móna peat production operations which are due to close in 2005. It is fully consistent with Bord na Móna's strategy of diversification," he says.