The slow pace of negotiations between Ireland and Britain over plans to build 40 windfarms across the Midlands has derailed the project.
Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte indicated the initiative was no longer realistic due to London dragging its feet. He said it was difficult to see the huge project being able to operate by the 2020 deadline set up by the EU for such types of green energy trading between countries. “It doesn’t look like we are going to be able to do it in time,” Mr Rabbitte told RTÉ.
The scheme, which envisaged thousands of wind turbines across five counties, will now be put on hold.
Mr Rabbitte had hoped the initiative would create jobs in counties Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, Offaly and Laois, but admits the project has run into trouble.
The UK was aiming to use the Irish windfarm supply to help it meet its obligation to produce nearly one sixth of all its power from renewable sources by the end of the decade under EU rules. The Government has always said it would only green light the project if it could be shown it would create significant jobs.
The Irish and British governments signed a memorandum of understanding in January of last year to develop greater co-operation on trading renewable energy supplies to comply with tougher EU rules.
EirGrid spokesman Michael Kelly said: “EirGrid’s Grid25 strategy and its vital projects to upgrade the national grid are not in any way connected to the separate proposals for direct-export renewable energy projects to Great Britain. Grid25 projects are internal to the Irish system and are being progressed to meet domestic needs.
“Developing the transmission grid will improve security of supply and reliability for Irish electricity consumers through stronger infrastructure, and will facilitate inward investment and regional development, as well as enabling Ireland to meet its targets for renewable energy.”
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