Bord na Móna is to raise €1.6 billion to fund a series of major climate action projects across its 200,000-acre landholding.
The company has appointed Goodbody Corporate Finance to manage the fundraising for the large-scale projects, including wind and solar energy infrastructure developments, “for delivery in this decade”.
Announcing the fundraising and investment programme, Bord na Móna chief executive Tom Donnellan said its purpose was to help Ireland become carbon neutral by 2050, adding that it was "committed to delivering this major pipeline of critical climate action projects". It coincides with the semi-State company ending peat extraction.
“Bord na Móna has a national and business imperative to use our land and other assets to develop these projects. We have already discerned a strong appetite from investors for the major renewable projects that we are developing and are delighted that Goodbody is on board to help manage the funding,” he said.
Bord na Móna has six major projects in planning and construction phase, with as many more to follow before 2030, Mr Donnellan confirmed.
The company is already generating 10 per cent of Irish renewable electricity and is on track to achieve a 300 per cent increase in its renewable energy output in this decade.
“By 2030 Bord na Móna will be generating enough renewable energy to supply nearly a third of all Irish homes. The company’s renewable energy supply will also significantly help Ireland deliver on its carbon reduction and green energy targets,” he noted.
The announcement follows the company’s recent success in the first competitive auction under the Government’s new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme. Two Bord na Móna wind energy projects were successful in their bids, winning 158 megawatts total capacity in the auction, representing 25 per cent of the total capacity awarded.
Head of Goodbody Corporate Finance Finbarr Griffin said the company was delighted to be working with Bord Na Móna. "Goodbody has been involved in the funding of renewable energy and infrastructure for over 15 years, and we see Bord na Móna as a key strategic player in Ireland's drive for carbon neutrality."
Last week the European Commission proposed cutting 55 per cent of Europe's emissions by 2030, up from its previous goal of 40 per cent, and said it would use hundreds of billions of euro worth of green bonds to help fund the target. As a consequence "the European Commission funding plan will make €225 billion available for climate action projects across the union", he added.
In 1992, Bord na Móna commissioned Ireland's first commercial wind farm in Bellacorick, Co Mayo. It has since committed to investing in development of wind and solar infrastructure.
In 2018 it adopted a "brown to green strategy" with a view to taking a leading role in delivering key aspects of national climate action policy. Under this strategy the company accelerated its development pipeline of renewable energy and recycling infrastructure. It also launched one of the largest peatland restoration and management programmes in Europe with a view to significantly boosting biodiversity and "securing and capturing more carbon in its lands".