Irish to build large onshore windfarm

1 August 2003 – The Irish government has given state-owned peat supplier Bord na Mona and its partner Hibernian Wind Power (HWP) the green light to build a 300 MW onshore wind farm in the western Irish county of Mayo.

The planned €300m ($342m) plant – expected to be completed by 2010 – would comprise 192 wind turbines with a total capacity of up to 300 MW and would be one of the largest land-based wind farms in Europe.

“Bord na Mona has got the initial permission and hopefully we can start construction by autumn next year,” said Brian Ryan of HWP, a unit of Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board, as reported by the Reuters news agency.

The permission, granted by Mayo County Council for a period of ten years, carries a number of conditions relating to factors such as environmental impact and proximity to existing homes and these would have to be carefully assessed, he said.

It was premature to comment on a supplier for the wind turbines, he said, adding: “We have an open mind.”

HWP already runs several wind farms in Ireland using units supplied by Denmark’s Vestas VEST.CO and Germany’s Enercon.

The Mayo wind farm, if it goes ahead, could provide enough energy to supply some 200,000 homes – around seven percent of Ireland’s electricity requirement.

The Irish government aims to have 1250 MW of green energy on line by 2010. To date, wind power has made the most progress, with nearly 200 MW of capacity in place, the Irish Wind Energy Association said.