Posted by: Dr. Breffni Lennon | June 26, 2012

Massive network of wind farms planned for Co. Offaly

Eddie O'Connor said the plan will create thousands of jobsFormer Bord na Móna CEO, Eddie O’Connor, launched an ambitious new wind energy project for Ireland’s midlands today. O’Connor, who sold his Airtricity (the wind energy company he founded in 2008) to E.ON and Scottish & Southern Energy for €1.1 billion, aims to create a network of wind farms in Co Offaly that will eventually produce electricity for export to the United Kingdom. The majority of wind turbines will be sited on peat bogs owned by Bord na Móna, as the company scales down peat production by 2020.

According to O’Connor:

“The wind farms and the cables will be completely separate to Ireland’s existing electricity system and will not be paid for by the Irish consumer. All of the cables will be entirely underground so will not be visible at any point. Once fully operational “Energy Bridge” will bring the following benefits:
• €34 million every year in County Council rates.
• 54,000 new jobs in manufacturing, construction and operations & maintenance.
• €2.5 billion every year in export revenue.
• €12 billion in tax revenues over 25 years.
Commenting at the opening in Edenderry Eddie O’Connor said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Ireland and especially the midlands; we’re going to supply the UK with a big chunk of its electricity needs, generating €2.5 billion per annum in revenue which is almost the same as our dairy exports last year.” (Environment & Energy Management, 2012)

Media coverage of today’s launch, including RTÉ news videos, is available here.

Environment & Energy Management’s coverage can be accessed here.

Offaly County Council’s current wind energy strategy can be accessed here.

I am not aware of any other renewable energy project that proposes to by-pass a country’s national electricity grid in the same way. If you know of any other examples please me know in the comment box below.

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