Provision for a €2 billion investment in renewable energy including a €900 million pumped-storage hydroelectricity plant is to be included in the Clare county development plan, according to the Irish Times.
Welcoming the publication of the Plan, Mayor Curtin stated: “The primary goal of this Plan is to position County Clare as a driver for local and regional growth through harnessing the potential of its unique location, quality of life, natural resources and other competitive advantages. Ultimately, the Plan seeks to make County Clare a better place to live in, work and visit.”
County manager Tom Coughlan also said they were hoping to lead by example in attracting private investment in renewable energy into the county.
He envisaged that Clare would be noted as a clean-tech county with the likes of the Shannon Free Zone, Shannon Airport and the county council offices being powered by renewable energy.
Clare County Council has already earmarked locations, principally along the coastal fringe, where investment in wind farms with a combined output of 550 megawatts of electricity can be located.
The amount of that investment, if realised, would be about €1 billion, given the capital costs of a megawatt of wind energy is between €1.8 and €2 million.
The key strategies outlined in the Plan include preparing a County Renewable Energy Strategy within the Plan period and to proactively pursue opportunities for pumped hydro energy storage in County Clare; facilitate the economic development and expansion of Shannon International Airport to include an International Air Freight Cargo Hub and innovative initiatives such as a global logistics centre for humanitarian aid; provision for a pumped-storage hydroelectricity plant which supporters believe is the ideal solution to the problems of intermittent wind.
Hydroelectricity plant uses the energy created when the wind is blowing to pump water to a higher elevation. When the wind has died down it releases the water, which drives a turbine to create electricity.
Commenting on the publication of the new Plan, Clare County Manager Tom Coughlan said: “A number of the key initiatives identified in the County Development Plan have already commenced, and to drive those initiatives, to seek out and take advantage of further opportunities, and to assist potential investors, Clare County Council will strengthen the economic development function of the Council.
“This County Development Plan is ambitious. It is innovative. It is pro-active. It is a plan for people and places. It encompasses many facets of life in County Clare and, as such, the implementation of the plan will require a high level of inter-agency co-operation. I look forward to the further development of the excellent working relationship which has been forged between the public sector agencies in this county.
“The implementation of this plan will also require active support at regional and national level. Positive national government decisions will be necessary to secure key projects but the fact that this plan has identified and pre-empted such projects should help to facilitate support at national level. I would like to thank the Oireachtas Members for their support for the County Development Plan and I look forward to their future support during its implementation”, added Mr. Coughlan.