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ESB and Bord na Móna launch solar energy co-development agreement

Ireland-headed energy majors, Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and Bord na Móna (BnM) have announced a co-development agreement to develop solar power in four locations in Roscommon, Offaly, and Kildare, which will provide renewable energy to power the equivalent of 150 000 Irish homes and businesses.

In October 2015, Bord na Móna (BnM) announced the “biggest change in land use in modern Irish history” when it stated that after 2030 it will no longer harvest energy peat. Instead, the sizeable land bank will be converted to other sustainable business uses including wind farms and solar. BnM and ESB have already joint wind farm projects.

According to a statement, the joint venture (JV) will access part of Bord na Móna’s land bank in strategic locations across the Irish Midlands which is suitable for large scale solar energy projects and brings together the expertise of two leading commercial semi-state companies in renewable energy with significant projects that support Ireland’s energy transition.

In ESB, we are committed to a future where low carbon electricity powers a low carbon society. We have already an established position in the solar market in Ireland, with both ground mounted and rooftop solar projects under development. ESB’s deep relationship with Bord na Móna in the Midlands spans decades. This new partnership – with the potential to power 150 000 homes and businesses – reinforces our confidence in solar to help Ireland meet its carbon reduction targets beyond 2020, said Pat O’Doherty Chief Executive of ESB.

Currently, in Ireland, renewable energy is predominately generated from the wind. It is Government policy to introduce more diversity in the renewable energy portfolio by promoting other technologies such as biomass, wave, tidal and solar energy. The co-development agreement is well positioned to support Government energy policy and to aid Ireland to reach future renewable energy targets.

Community consultation will be placed at the heart of the project. From our long history of working together in communities right across Ireland, Bord na Móna and ESB bring considerable expertise and knowledge in delivering best in class community engagement around our projects, ensuring a clear commitment to open and transparent engagement with households adjacent to any proposed development. The solar industry, although in its infancy here in Ireland, has the potential to form an important part of Ireland’s future energy mix in the medium to long term. To that end, ESB and Bord na Móna believe in collaborating on, and investing in, the development of this clean and efficient energy source, said Mike Quinn, CEO, Bord na Móna.

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