Ireland’s largest electricity provider ESB and the country’s chief forestry operator Coillte are to jointly invest €100m in a green energy venture.

The project could develop 1,000 megawatts (mW) of renewable energy by 2030.

According to a report in The Sunday Times, the venture will initially employ 25 staff from the  existing renewable energy division of Coillte, which manages 7pc of land across the Republic of Ireland.

“Expanding the use of clean electricity in sectors such as transport and heating offers a clear route to decarbonisation of society”

It is understood that the two semi-State companies have finalised the €100m deal just more than a year after they began talks.

The joint venture, which will be operational by the summer, aims to build up to 30 green energy projects which will mainly consist of wind farms.

Each company will invest €50m. The joint venture will be subject to approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The answer is blowing in the wind

ESB, which already has a broadband joint venture called SIRO with Vodafone, has several wind farms operational in Ireland while Coillte sold four operating wind farms to Greencoat Renewables in 2018 for €136m.

Energy projects by the joint venture are expected to be funded individually mainly through debt, and it is estimated the cost of creating 1,000mW of energy assets will cost in excess of €1bn.

ESB recently confirmed that it connected its 4,000th megawatt of wind capacity to its electricity system.

“Together with the work of our colleagues in EirGrid, we have helped Ireland become a world leader, with 41pc of our electricity generated from wind energy last month (January 2020),” said Paddy Hayes, managing director of ESB Networks, at the recent SEAI Public Sector Energy Conference held in DCU.

“Expanding the use of clean electricity in sectors such as transport and heating offers a clear route to decarbonisation of society. ESB Networks continues to invest and innovate to develop the safe, sustainable, resilient, flexible distribution system that will facilitate the whole scale electrification that is so critical for climate action.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 17 February, 2020

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