Renewable energy plant planned for Killala

Construction of €180 million electricity generating facility will create 350 jobs

Taoiseach Enda Kenny after announcing the building of the power station in Killala, Co Mayo, with  Gerald  Crotty of Mayo Renewable Power. Photograph: Maxwells

Taoiseach Enda Kenny after announcing the building of the power station in Killala, Co Mayo, with Gerald Crotty of Mayo Renewable Power. Photograph: Maxwells

 

US-backed Mayo Renewable Pow er is planning a €180 million electricity generating plant for Killala, the construction of which will create up to 350 jobs.

Mayo Renewable Power confirmed that it has secured finance for the project from its equity backer, US firm, Weichert Enterprise, along with loans from three banks, AIB, Ulster and Barclays.

The new plant will burn woodchip and will have the capacity to generate 42.5 mega watts of electricity, enough energy to power around 42,000 homes, and will cost €180 million to build.

Building work is due to start immediately on the plant, for which the company has secured all the necessary planning permission and permits, and the facility should be operating commercially in 2017.

Construction group John Sisk & Son will build the plant and the project will create up to 350 jobs at its peak. The generating station will employ 30 people once it is up and running.

The plant will benefit from the State’s Renewable Energy Feed-in-Tariff (Refit) programme, which is finance from an extra public service obligation charge imposed on every electricity customer on the Republic.

Under the Refit programme, generators are guaranteed a minimum price for the electricity they sell, which makes them attractive bets for investors and banks.

The plant will burn woodchip imported from the US and shipped to Killala, but the developers are promising that they intend to source biomass from Irish suppliers, which they say will help create jobs in the region. Mayo Renewable Power is building the plant at the site of the old Asahi factory in Killala.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, in whose constituency it is being built, welcomed the development. He said that it would help the Republic meet green energy targets agreed with the EU.

Gerald C Crotty, president of Weichert Enterprise and chairman of Mayo Renewable Power, said the financing marked another milestone in the project’s development.

He thanked the Taoiseach for his interest in the project. He also noted that Mayo County Council had been straightforward in enforcing planning regulations while also recognising the project was a positive economic development.

Mr Crotty’s grandparents came from Co Clare. He was honoured at the Ireland-US Council annual dinner in New York last November, where Mr Kenny gave the keynote speech.