Bord na Móna drops UK wind plan

Irish utility Bord na Móna confirmed it will drop plans to develop 1GW of onshore wind for UK power exports after the nations’ governments failed to reach an agreement.

Bord na Móna was one of three developers to announce an intention to pursue gigawatt-scale deployment in the Irish Midlands for large-scale export to Britain, helping the latter to meet its 2020 clean-energy targets.

However, earlier this week Ireland’s energy minister said a formal agreement between the two countries would not be possible on the timescale needed for 2020.

The part state-owned utility today confirmed the plan – called Clean Energy Hub – will now not proceed.

A statement said: “In the absence of an Inter Governmental Agreement between the Irish and British Governments, as required under EU Directive 2009/28/EC, which would facilitate the export of surplus green energy, Bord na Móna will not now continue to develop the project as envisaged at this point in time.”

Bord na Móna appeared well placed to step in as a major wind developer, as it is already a significant landowner in the form of 80,000 hectares of peatland that is harvested for energy across Ireland – much of it approaching the end of its productive life.

It foresaw an initial 1GW development for UK export, which could have doubled if demand proved sufficient.

Instead the company said it will continue to look for opportunities for wind development to serve the Irish domestic market, which is set to be substantial despite the apparent stalling of the UK export scheme.

The two other developers to come forward with proposals to meet UK demand – Mainstream Renewable Power and Element Power – have so far remained silent on the future of their projects in the light of the failure of the two governments to reach a prompt agreement.