Mount Dillon

ESB and Bord na Móna to build Solar Power Plant at Mount Dillon

Mount Dillon

ESB and Bord na Móna have today announced a co-development agreement to develop solar power in four locations in Mount Dillon, (near Ballyleague), Offaly and Kildare, which will provide renewable energy to power the equivalent of 150,000 homes.

The joint venture will access part of Bord na Móna’s land bank in strategic locations across the 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.

Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive of ESB Pat O’Doherty said:

“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.”

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 reach future renewable energy targets.

Minister Denis Naughten said

“Solar undoubtedly has a key role to play in our transition to a low carbon energy future and presents significant opportunities for citizens and the economy as a whole.
Today’s co-development agreement places this technology at the heart of the solutions needed by our economy and society. Depleted cutaway bogs, once a resource powering peat-burning power stations, have become a key resource in the production of clean energy.

He went on to say “Companies are ambitious both in their decision to enter this new market and the scale at which they propose to enter. I welcome ambition, whether it is today’s development or other similar initiatives.
Clean energy innovation is happening across the sector and I encourage other generators and players in the market to continue to be as ambitious as possible. Nothing short of dramatic changes in our energy system will suffice to achieve our de-carbonisation objectives. A cost effective, secure and sustainable energy system will be a major achievement in this new decarbonised era. Today’s announcement is another significant step towards that goal.”

Mike Quinn, CEO, Bord na Móna concluded;

“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 Mona believe in collaborating on, and investing in, the development of this clean and efficient energy source.”

Mount Dillon is thought to be an ideal location for such development. Incidentally on numerous occasions in recent years the highest temperatures in Ireland have been recorded at the weather station there!