An Bord Pleanála has given Bord na Móna the go-ahead to construct a windfarm which will produce enough electricity for 45,000 homes. The state agency is expected to invest about €120 million in the project, at Mountlucas in Co Offaly.
It will create up to 30 jobs during the 18-to-24-month construction phase. Bord na Móna said the proposed development formed part of the agency’s ‘‘long-term strategy of diversification beyond its traditional peat-based businesses’’.
As part of that diversification, Bord na Móna has been developing a portfolio of generating assets, including wind farms and complementary flexible thermal plants.
The proposed development, to be known as Mountlucas Wind Farm, will have a generating capacity of 80MW.
When operational ,the agency said, it would improve the geographical distribution of wind energy facilities nationally and contribute to more balanced input of wind energy to the grid in support of the government’s 40 per cent target for electricity from renewable energy sources.
An application for connection of the wind farm to the national grid has been made to EirGrid. It is scheduled to get an offer for connection to the system in early 2011.
Gabriel d’Arcy, chief executive of Bord na Móna, de scribed the An Bord Pleanála decision as a ‘‘major milestone’’.
The agency said once the wind farm was in operation, it would support a small number of operation and maintenance jobs.
Bord na Móna anticipates that the farm will replace the emission every year of 125,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
The company has been involved in milled-peat production operations at the site since the 1950s, and parts of the bog are still in active peat production. Those areas will not be affected by the development of the wind farm.
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