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Cork firms may go green to cut energy costs

www.thepost.ie

By Nicola Cooke

Several large pharmaceutical companies in Cork are considering building wind turbines and solar panels in a bid to cut their soaring energy costs.

Several large pharmaceutical companies in Cork are considering building wind turbines and solar panels in a bid to cut their soaring energy costs.

Some of the companies have already approached Cork County Council to see if the renewable energy devices can be built next to their multi-million-euro businesses.

Pfizer, Janssen-Cilag and other Johnson & Johnson companies are looking to other sources of energy because of the rising price of oil, electricity and gas.

A spokesman for the planning division in Cork County Council said it would be discussing the issue as part of the review of the county development plan in four months.

“˜”˜The big multinationals in Cork Harbour have seen a huge increase in their energy costs in the last while, and it has been suggested to us by some of the companies themselves, that they add wind turbines or solar panels to their company bases,” he said.

“˜”˜This would emit cheaper, cleaner green energy and I think new forms of energy and bio-energy will be coming on line sooner than a lot of people think. We want to be on top on this and plan for the future, sooner rather than later.”

Pfizer said in a statement: “˜”˜There are a number of studies ongoing in our plants investigating the potential use of wind turbine for…applications such as lighting. In addition, there is an active study into the use of bio-fuel boilers for the generation of hot water.

“˜”˜With rising fuel costs, the opening of electricity and gas markets and the implementation of new climate-change policies, there has never been a greater imperative for organisations to manage energy wisely.

“Pfizer believes that the adoption of strategic management practices can result in significant savings…and reduce our overall impact on the environment.”

It is believed that Janssen and De Puy, both Johnson & Johnson companies, are also examining the possibility of using wind or solar energy.

Company representatives were not available for comment.

Wind energy is the fastest-growing energy sector and is used by large and small companies for a variety of energy sources. Demand for the use of wind turbines to produce energy is highest among Japanese, US and European companies.

Ireland has some of the best wind energy conditions in Europe; about 5 per cent of the country’s energy is generated by wind. The government’s target is to increase this to 13.2 per cent by 2010.

The Department of Environment offers grants of between €1,100 and €6,500 under a “˜green homes scheme’ for the installation of renewable technologies, including wood-pellet stoves and boilers, solar panels and geothermal heat pumps.