Bord na Móna and SSE to boost Irish wind in €1bn venture

28 Mar 2024

From left: Bord na Móna’s John Reilly, SSE Renewables' Heather Donald and Laura Burke, and Bord na Móna’s Brendan Connolly. Image: Fennell Photography

The joint venture aims to create multiple wind farms across Ireland’s midlands, which would create hundreds of jobs and generate enough energy to power up to 450,000 homes.

A new joint venture between Bord na Móna and SSE Renewables could see up to €1bn invested over the next decade to create new wind farms across Ireland.

The two organisations have teamed up to deliver up to 800MW of renewable wind energy for Ireland, marking one of the biggest onshore wind ventures in the country to date. The plan is to create multiple new wind farms across Ireland’s midlands, which could provide power for more than 450,000 homes.

The two entities predict that hundreds of jobs could be created in the region through the construction and operation of these new wind projects. These wind farms are also expected to offset roughly half a million tonnes of carbon each year when operational and contribute to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan.

It is understood that SSE Renewables is contributing roughly €50m in an initial equity consideration for a 50pc equity stake in the 800MW development portfolio.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD, gave consent for the joint venture and said the midlands has “historically played a significant role in powering Ireland”.

“Renewable green energy is going to play a crucial role in helping Ireland move towards greater energy security and deliver on our emission reduction targets, with the ultimate goal of achieving net zero by 2050,” Ryan said. “We need to see more partnerships and large-scale projects like this coming online moving forward to end our dependence on fossil fuels and secure energy independence for Ireland.”

The joint venture includes three proposed projects that are in pre-planning development, which are the Lemanaghan Wind Farm in Offaly, the Littleton Wind Farm in Tipperary and the Garryhinch Wind Farm on the border of Laois and Offaly. These three projects alone have the potential to create roughly 250MW of new renewable energy generation for Ireland.

Bord na Móna CEO Tom Donnellan said the joint venture will accelerate its “5GW of renewable energy infrastructure pipeline”.

“The portfolio of projects contained within this joint venture will be developed through a lease agreement at sites across Bord na Móna’s landbank, helping to benefit communities we have been operating in for the past 90 years,” Donnellan said.

“Our dedicated Community Benefit Fund will also support the local communities neighbouring our wind farm projects which could amount to annual multimillion-euro investments when all projects are fully operational.”

A recent report from Wind Energy Ireland claimed that 36pc of Ireland’s electricity in the first month of 2024 came from wind power.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic