Greenwire wind farm projects could create 3,000 jobs, claims developer

16 Jan 2013

Element Power, the renewable energy group behind the €8bn Greenwire wind energy project that is aiming to export 3GW of electricity to the UK from Ireland by 2018, is calling on the Irish and UK governments to speed up the required policy to help the Greenwire project deliver on its promise of creating up to 3,000 long-term jobs.

In July of last year, Element Power’s Irish operation was awarded a grid connection by the operator of the UK electricity network, National Grid UK, to export 3GW of electricity to the UK by 2018.

At the time, Element Power said the Greenwire projects would spawn 10,000 jobs during the construction phase and up to 3,000 long-term jobs to service and maintain the wind farms that are set to be built in the midlands of Ireland.

Element Power is aiming to sign off on option agreements with landowners in the early part of 2013. Its plan is to submit a planning application before the end of the year.

According to the group, Greenwire will comprise around 40 different clusters of wind farms across the counties of Kildare, Laois, Meath, Offaly and Westmeath in Ireland.

In December, Element Power signed a land lease option with the Irish State-owned forestry agency Coillte to allow it to consider wind-farm developments on some Coillte-owned sites in the Irish midlands.

Tim Cowhig, CEO of Element Power in Ireland, spoke about the job-creation opportunities the project will offer.

“At a time when the Taoiseach and his cabinet are exploring all realistic possibilities of creating employment, we feel it is particularly pertinent that the scale of job creation potential of renewable energy is factored into any forecasts,” he said.

“Greenwire will be delivered at zero cost to the Irish taxpayer and can create much-needed employment, as well as developing an industry which has the potential to be as substantial as the Irish beef industry as it matures,” he said.

Cowhig said the Greenwire project also has the scope to contribute €50m annually in rental and rate payments to landowners and local authorities across the midlands.

Wind turbine image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic