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New wind plant for Tipperary

Energy group Element Power is planning to spend up to E70 million on a new wind-powered electricity project, it emerged at the weekend. The Irish division of the multinational business announced last month that it plans to invest E8 billion in a series of wind farms in the midlands that will export electricity to Britain. At the weekend, it confirmed it is going ahead with plans to develop a 36-megawatt (MW) wind farm at Monaincha, Co Tipperary, which it hopes will be close to completion in a year’s time. Element would not say how much the project is likely to cost. On the basis of an industry rule of thumb that such developments cost about E2 million per MW, it has a E70 million-plus price tag. The turbines, which form a large part of the investment involved, are likely to cost at least E30 million.

Online trade publication reNews said Element had chosen Nordex as the preferred turbine supplier. The project will require 15 machines capable of generating 2.4 MW each. These cost about E900,000 per MW of output, putting the cost at just short of E33 million. The Monaincha wind farm is designed to supply electricity to the Irish national grid rather than export it to Britain.

Kevin O’Donovan, the company’s chief development officer for Ireland, said energy minister Pat Rabbitte’s recent decision to introduce a new round of supports for green energy had prompted it to move ahead with the project. “There are a lot of things that you need to have in place for a wind energy project,” he said. “That was one of them, so we decided to go ahead.” Mr O’Donovan said the turbines the company intends to instal at Monaincha are designed to operate at lower wind speeds than those generally used in Ireland. “In that respect, they are new technology,” he added. The Irish Times