Irish Midlands wind park to plug energy gap in UK

27th June, 2012 title

EOGHAN MacCONNELL and CIARA KENNY of the Irish Times report that former Bord na Móna chief executive Eddie O’Connor is planning a 5,000MW wind park in the midlands to plug the energy gap in the UK. Mr O’Connor said wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power had identified 900 eligible landowners in the midlands who could accommodate the wind turbines. The company has invested €500,000 to secure a grid connection to the UK and hopes to reach agreement with the landowners by October.He said renewable energy for export had the potential to make €2.5 billion for Ireland every year at full output, which was almost equivalent to the country’s dairy exports last year. Mainstream Renewable Power intends to submit a planning application to An Bord Pleanála by 2015, and to be exporting energy to the UK by 2017. Opening Mainstream’s new office in Edenderry, Co Offaly, yesterday, Mr O’Connor said: “We will create a whole new industry in this country.

“We will be world leaders, I have no doubt about that.”

The midlands wind farm, which is to be called “energy bridge”, is expected to employ 5,000 people during construction and create a further 500 permanent jobs once it is up and running, in maintenance and operation. Mr O’Connor said Mainstream Renewable Power has a track record in working with Chinese investors on projects in Chile and Illinois. He now wants to work with them on this Irish project. “They have disposable revenues to invest in secure places like Ireland,” he said. Mainstream’s development manager for Ireland, Diarmuid Twomey, said the company plans to lay undersea cables between Ireland and Wales. Power lines from the wind farms are to be completely separate from Ireland’s existing electrical infrastructure and they will not be paid for by the Irish consumer, he said.

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