Airtricity restarts wind development in home market

13 January 2006 - Irish renewable energy company Airtricity said this week it had raised €130m ($156m) to fund wind farm development in Ireland and overseas. It said it would recommence building wind farms in Ireland for the first time in two years. Airtricity will double its existing generation capacity through the development of sites at locations in Limerick, Cavan and Wexford.

Since ESB National Grid called for a moratorium on wind farm development in December 2003, Airtricity had concentrated on international expansion. As part of this expansion, Airtricity recently appointed Brian Wilson, former UK Energy Minister as Chairman of the company's UK operations group. The UK Operations Group will spearhead the development of Airtricity as a leading UK development company with plans to build one of the largest onshore wind farms in Europe, at Ayrshire in Scotland and a giant 500 MW offshore facility off the south east coast of England. Airtricity is also developing strongly in the United States and last month in support of that growth, acquired a Texas based company- Renewable Generation Inc.

Airtricity is planning to build four new wind farms across Ireland with a total capacity of 110 MW. The farms will be located at Richfield, Co Wexford, Tournafulla, Co Limerick, Bindoo, Co Cavan and Knockastanna, Co Limerick.

Dr Eddie O'Connor, Chief Executive, Airtricity said; "At a time when energy supply, shortages and increasing costs are dominating headlines both at home and abroad, this is a timely boost for our customer base in Ireland. For the last number of years we have stressed the importance of developing our own indigenous energy supply and today's announcement will almost double the capacity that Airtricity will be feeding into the National Grid."

"While we welcome the new support system for renewables we are disappointed that it does not include off shore projects and therefore excludes the Arklow Bank project which would have made a considerable input in enabling Ireland to meet its Kyoto target. Not withstanding that, given our expertise in development and the fact that we have secured turbines at a time of world shortage, we are also pleased to be in a position to help other local developers through Joint Ventures to build out their wind farms."

"It is more obvious now that we cannot be held hostage to fortune and rely on imported energy and fuel sources to power our expanding economy. The wind conditions here are the best in Europe and we must maximise its potential for the benefit for all. As ever, Airtricity is delighted to be the lead developer on behalf of the Irish people he concluded."

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