Norwegian energy firm Statkraft has announced that its two new Irish wind farms will be up and running by the end of next year.
Construction has just begun on the nine-turbine Cloghan project in Co Offaly after works got under way at the Taghart wind farm in Co Cavan at the start of the year.
Statkraft won approval for the two projects in the Government’s first auction under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) last year. Together, they have a capacity of 57MW - enough to power 45,000 Irish homes.
“Getting construction underway is always a milestone moment, as we are bringing the project to life, so I am delighted that Cloghan has now followed Taghart into construction and both of these cornerstone developments are now officially under way,” said Kevin O’Donovan, Statkraft Ireland’s managing director.
“They are both very strategic projects from the country’s point of view, and will make an important contribution to reaching our 2030 renewable energy targets.”
The Government has committed to generating 70pc of Ireland’s electricity from renewables by 2030 – from 43pc last year – which would require a further five gigawatts (or 5000 megawatts) of capacity.
Mr O’Donovan recently told the Irish Independent that Ireland’s security of energy supply was in a “precarious” position and that getting more wind and solar power on to the grid would be critical.
Statkraft now views Ireland as one of its core markets, after acquiring Element Power’s Irish operations in 2018, and is preparing bids for six further wind farms, totalling 320 megawatts of capacity.
One is an offshore project in the Irish Sea, known as the North Irish Sea Array, which it says could generate up to 500 megawatts of renewable power to 500,000 homes.
Statkraft is not the only company tapping into the Government’s renewable energy drive.
German energy giant RWE has around a gigawatt of projects under development, including onshore wind, offshore turbines and battery storage. The ESB and Norway’s Equinor are exploring five sites off the Irish coast, which they say could generate enough wind energy to power four million homes.
“With our abundance of clean natural resources, Ireland can be a world leader when it comes to powering our homes and our country with renewable energy,” said Mr O’Donovan.