New 75-megawatt Bord na Móna windfarm in Offaly will create up to 100 new jobs during construction phase and will power 55,000 homes.

Bord na Móna has raised €100m from Bank of Ireland and the European Investment Bank for a new €100m renewable energy power plant in Offaly.

The wind-generated power plant could supply enough electricity to power 55,000 homes at full capacity.

“Bord na Móna is in the business of climate solutions, using our land and renewable energy resources to create a cleaner, healthier environment”

This is the first project under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme to receive financing and when completed, will be another contribution towards Bord na Móna’s objective to supply approximately one third of Irish homes with renewable energy by 2030.

A cleaner, healthier future

“Bord na Móna is in the business of climate solutions, using our land and renewable energy resources to create a cleaner, healthier environment for people here and also to help Ireland reach net zero by 2050,” said JP McGrath, chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Bord na Móna.

“Climate action is the work of many decades to come and we are delighted to have the support of our finance partners in Bank of Ireland and the European Investment Bank as we progress this critically important mission”.

Bank of Ireland and the European Investment Bank are the Mandated Lead Arrangers for the project financing and each providing 50pc of debt.

“We are delighted to continue our support of Bord na Móna as a leader in the development of renewable energy in Ireland,” said Eoin McGuinness, senior director at Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking.

“The company’s green energy strategy aligns with Bank of Ireland’s commitment to sustainable lending and this €50m funding commitment is one of our largest in the renewable sector to date.”

The new 75 megawatt (MW) windfarm, located at Cloncreen, Co Offaly, will create up to 100 jobs during the construction phase and is due to start supplying renewable energy to the national grid next year. This is the first project under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme to receive financing and when completed, will be another contribution towards Bord na Móna’s objective to supply approximately one third of Irish homes with renewable energy by 2030. 

“The European Investment Bank is committed to helping to accelerate renewable energy generation across Ireland and around the world,” said Christian Kettel Thomsen, European Investment Bank vice-president.

“The EIB is pleased to provide €50m for Bord na Móna’s latest new wind farm at Cloncreen, alongside Bank of Ireland, that will make a significant contribution to ensuring that 70pc of Ireland’s energy is from renewable sources by the end of the decade.”

Brown to green

In January Bord na Móna revealed that it had formally ended all peat harvesting on the island of Ireland under what it terms its “brown to green” strategy.

As part of this strategy, by 2030 Bord na Móna will have developed wind, solar and other assets capable of supplying in the region of one third of all Irish homes with renewable energy. It also plans to be the leading collection and recycling business in Ireland by 2030, supporting national circular economy objectives. 

In September 2020 it revealed it was planning to raise €1.6bn to fund a series of major climate action projects across its 200,000-acre landholding.

The same month, two windfarm projects representing a combined investment of €170m by Bord na Móna emerged successful in the first competitive auction under the Irish Government’s new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS-1).

Cloncreen Wind Farm (located in Co Offaly) and the Oweninny Wind Farm Phase 2 (a joint venture with ESB, located in Co Mayo) were both successful in their bids, winning 158MW total capacity in the auction.

Green bond

In related news, Bank of Ireland has raised a further €500m to finance sustainable projects via a green bond transaction that was almost four time oversubscribed.

The bank has a Sustainable Finance Fund, with more than €950m of green loans allocated to homeowners and businesses to date.

It has also reduced the carbon intensity within its own operations by 77pc since 2011 across Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

“The Group completed its first green bond issuance in March and I am pleased to advise that we have successfully priced another green bond today,” explained Bank of Ireland Group Treasurer Tony Morley.

“This supports our ability to continue to finance projects for customers and support the transition to a lower carbon economy, as set out in our Responsible and Sustainable Business strategy, ‘Investing in Tomorrow’.

“We remain focused on facilitating more green loans and mortgages for customers across Ireland and we have also made significant progress in transforming our own operations and reducing our carbon footprint.  These are key objectives for Bank of Ireland.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 5 May 2021