Plan to spend €1bn on onshore wind farms capable of supplying electricity to 500,000 homes

State-owned Bord na Móna and SSE Renewables will build green energy projects across the midlands

State-owned Bord na Móna and SSE Renewables plan to spend €1 billion on building onshore wind farms capable of supplying electricity to almost 500,000 homes.

The pair said on Thursday that they planned to join forces on a green electricity project in one of the largest deals of its kind ever done in this country.

The companies calculate that they could invest €1 billion over 10 years on the plan to construct wind farms across the midlands with the capacity to generate 800 mega watts of electricity (MW), enough to supply 480,550 homes.

Three initial wind farms, Lemanaghan, Co Offaly; Garryhinch, straddling counties Laois and Offaly; and Littleton, Co Tipperary, are already in pre-planning.


According to a statement, these could generate a total of 250MW between them. The partnership is working on further power plants that could produce another 550MW.

Under the deal’s terms, Bord na Móna will provide the sites for the individual projects and SSE Renewables will cover the cost of getting planning permission and national electricity grid connections for each wind farm. Both companies will then split the cost of building each project 50/50.

Bord na Móna will lead talks with locals close to each project and take charge of the community benefit funds that onshore wind farm developers establish to aid groups in the areas where they locate their power plants.

The companies will decide on which will operate each of the proposed wind farms as the projects are developed.

Originally established to exploit peat from the Republic’s bogs, Bord na Móna has branched into energy, waste management and other businesses.

It owns extensive land across the State, particularly in the midlands, where much of its original activity was focused.

SSE Renewables is a division of London Stock Exchange-listed Scottish utility, SSE plc, best-known to Irish people as owner of electricity and gas supplier, Airtricity.

The renewable energy business is spending €8 billion on green electricity projects here, in Britain, Europe and Japan.

The company is currently building the 101MW Yellow River wind farm in Co Offaly, for which it has already won a contract to supply electricity through the Government’s Renewable Energy Support Scheme.

Bord na Móna recruited SSE Renewables after hiring accountants KPMG to run a competition to find a partner to jointly build wind farms on the State company’s land.

Tom Donnellan, Bord na Móna chief executive, dubbed the deal an “important milestone” in the company’s efforts to become of the Republic’s leading green energy suppliers.

“Together with SSE Renewables we are committing more than €1 billion of joint investment in this onshore wind partnership across the Midlands,” he said.

By working together, our two organisations can deliver vital new onshore wind projects across the Midlands that will support regional economies and jobs

—  Stephen Wheeler - managing director of SSE Renewables

Mr Donnellan added that the agreement would accelerate Bord na Móna’s plans to build onshore wind energy plants, which were originally due to be completed after 2030.

He noted that the venture would benefit “communities we have been operating in for the past 90 years”.

Stephen Wheeler, managing director of SSE Renewables said the firm had already invested billions of euro in green energy in Ireland.

“By working together, our two organisations can deliver vital new onshore wind projects across the Midlands that will support regional economies and jobs,” he pointed out.

Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, who approved Bord na Móna’s partnership, welcomed the news.

“We need to see more partnerships and large-scale projects like this coming on-line moving forward to end our dependence on fossil fuels and secure energy independence for Ireland,” the minister said.

Government wants renewables to produce 80 per cent of the electricity used in the Republic by 2030.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas