Bord na Móna seeks €1.6bn to fund national climate action projects

23 Sep 2020

Oweninny windfarm in Co Mayo. Image: Bord na Móna

As part of its plan to generate enough renewable energy to power almost a third of Irish homes by 2030, Bord na Móna has launched a €1.6bn fundraising effort.

Two years after the adoption of its ‘brown to green strategy’, Bord na Móna is looking to ramp up its climate action efforts by building wind and solar infrastructure across 200,000 acres of its landholdings.

The semi-State company confirmed today (23 September) that it is seeking to raise €1.6bn to fund a series of projects over the course of the next decade. It currently has six projects in the planning and construction phases, with others set to be confirmed before 2030.

Its landholdings are currently responsible for 10pc of the country’s renewable electricity output and Bord na Móna claims that it is on track to achieve a 300pc increase by 2030. If this is achieved, the company could be generating enough renewable energy to supply nearly a third of Irish homes within the next decade.

Under the recently announced results of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS-1) auction, two Bord na Móna wind energy projects were successful with a total capacity of 158MW.

A total of 82 projects were approved, including 160 new onshore wind turbines and 1,750 hectares of solar panels, with capacities of 479MW and 796MW, respectively. The winning bidders have a projected output of 2,237GWh of renewable electricity, equating to a potential saving of 671 kilotons of CO2 per year.

‘Strong appetite from investors’

“Bord na Móna’s purpose is to help Ireland become carbon neutral by 2050 and we are committed to delivering this major pipeline of critical climate action projects,” said its chief executive, Tom Donnellan.

“Bord na Móna has a national and business imperative to use our land and other assets to develop these projects.”

Goodbody Corporate Finance has been brought in to manage fundraising efforts, with Donnellan saying there is already a “strong appetite from investors” for its major renewable projects.

Under the European Green Deal, published last December, the EU will work towards a carbon-neutral continent by 2050. Last week, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen also proposed cutting emissions by 55pc by 2030, up from the previous target of 40pc.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Eamon Ryan, TD, welcomed the proposed change and said the Government’s Climate Action (Amendment) Bill currently being drafted for publication will “significantly strengthen the statutory framework for governance of the climate challenge in Ireland”.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic