Some 350 construction jobs at new power station in Mayo
Up to 350 construction jobs will be created when building work begins on a new biomass power station in Co Mayo later this month.
Another 30 full-time posts will be filled when the plant in Killala, on the site of the old Asahi factory, opens in two years.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced the development of the plant – which will be fueled by woodchip biomass and produce enough electricity to power 68,000 homes - in his home county.
“This investment is a vote of confidence in the Irish economy and is part of the recovery that is beginning to spread to every region of Ireland,” said Mr Kenny.
“It will be the largest biomass power station to have been built in this country to date and will contribute to reducing our greenhouse emissions.
“The overarching objective of the Government's energy policy is to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of competitively priced energy to all consumers.”
Planning permission has already been granted for the new 42 megawatt biomass combined heat and power generating station, which is being developed by Mayo Renewable Power and backed by American investment company Weichert Enterprise.
The build represents an investment of €180m.
Much of the biomass fuel for the plant will initially be imported, but the plant will also take willow and miscanthus - fuel crops that can be grown by local farmers.
Mr Kenny said more than 100 people will be employed indirectly in growing, harvesting, transport and other ancillary services associated with the plant.
“The power station will burn biomass such as Willow, Spruce, Miscanthus and Mesquite, and the ‘waste heat’ from the station will be used in an adjoining fuel processing plant to refine the biomass for commercial use,” he added
“This will offer a great opportunity to farmers in the region to grow biomass crops which require little maintenance and where they will have a ready market for sales.”