Mercury Renewables, a renewable energy developer based in Mayo, has gone to An Bord Pleanála regarding a pre-application consultation for a wind farm which could represent an investment of €100m.
The company submitted the consultation request with An Bord Pleanála late last month. Mercury would be seeking permission for the construction of up to 15 wind turbines, grid connection and all associated works for the Firlough Windfarm in Bonniconlon, Co. Mayo.
The case is due to be decided in October.
Speaking with the Sunday Independent, John Duffy, principal of Mercury, said the wind farm would generate around 70 megawatts (MW) of electricity, potentially enough to power approximately 50,000 homes. He hopes the site will be built within the next three to four years.
Duffy said the development of the wind farm could create up to 100 construction jobs as well as half a dozen permanent maintenance jobs.
Mercury has also done work in the UK on wind farm and renewable energy development. The company is also involved in other locations in the Ireland, with the Mayo site its most advanced.
Duffy said the company had permission from Mayo County Council for a 21-turbine wind farm but was now looking to take advantage of the new, improved technology behind wind turbines by developing a site with fewer turbines.
Mercury Renewables was formed in 2010 and counts John Kelly, Ann Walsh and Duffy as its directors.
Its most recent accounts for 2017 show the company had tangible assets worth more than €560,000.
According to the Irish Wind Energy Association, there are more than 250 wind farms in Ireland with an installed capacity of 3,700MW. In the first three months of 2020, wind was the leading source of electricity here for the first time.
Figures released in April by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland showed wind energy provided 3,390GWh of electricity during the quarter. This amounted to 43.8pc of demand and, for the first time, surpassed natural gas which provided 3,324GWh, or 41.8pc of demand.
The first few months of 2020 saw several powerful storms hit the country, which resulted in a bumper generation of electricity from wind.
One weekend in February, it was estimated that Storm Dennis led to almost three-quarters of electricity generated in Ireland being sourced from wind.
According to a report last week in the Irish Independent, the energy regulator is proposing a huge increase in the levy paid to wind farm operators by consumers. The annual public service obligation (PSO) levy is proposed to go from €34 a year to €96 next year, a €62 rise.
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) said the proposed rise would amount to an increase of €5.22 per month for domestic customers and €14.46 per month for commercial customers.
Sunday Indo Business