Renewable energy generation from onshore wind farms across Ireland will be significantly increased using a EUR 155 million loan to Bord Gáis from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB support will contribute to the construction and operation of six onshore wind farms, in Counties Tipperary, Clare and Kilkenny, with a total generation capacity of 141 MW. The expansion programme, representing a total investment of EUR 311m is expected to be completed in 2013/2014.
This initiative represents a key step in increasing renewable energy in Ireland and in helping to reduce fossil fuel use. The programme will increase the operational wind capacity of Bord Gáis wind farms from 234MW to 365MW, an increase of more than 50%, and the scheme will help Ireland to achieve the country’s target of ensuring that 20% of energy production is from renewable sources by 2020.
“The European Investment Bank is pleased to support long-term investment in renewable energy in Ireland. The Bord Gáis programme uses a free natural resource that exists in abundance in Ireland and will create jobs across the country. The European Investment Bank backs renewable energy investment across Europe and is pleased to work closely with Bord Gáis to ensure Ireland plays a key role. Completion of these projects will contribute to the achievement of the Irish Government’s renewable energy targets.” said European Investment Bank Vice President Mihai Tanasescu.
“The EIB’s funding of our wind farm projects is a major vote of confidence in the strategic direction of the company and, indeed, in Irish Government policy in relation to promoting wind energy development in Ireland. Bord Gáis is a significant player in the wind industry in Ireland, operating over 15% of installed capacity and powering nearly 180,000 homes across the country. This EIB funding is critical in supporting our roadmap for wind. Over the next three years, we will add a further 250MWs of wind generating capacity to our portfolio,” said Dave Kirwan, Managing-Director of Bord Gáis Energy.
“Today’s formal confirmation that Bord Gáis has attracted €155 million of funding from the EIB is the second major funding announcement from the company in the last week, following the success of the €500 million bond sale. Both of these developments demonstrate that investor confidence in Ireland and Irish companies has significantly improved. Today’s announcement reinforces the EIB’s long-standing record of positive support for energy investment in Ireland,” said Michael G O’Sullivan, Chief Financial Officer, Bord Gáis
Bord Gáis Energy is a substantial operator in the Irish Wind market. The company owns and operates 132 turbines on 13 wind farms in eight counties – Kerry, Cork, Limerick, Clare, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Donegal and Tyrone. The company’s long term investment in renewable energy reflects and supports the Government’s target of having 40% of electricity consumed from renewables by 2020. It is envisaged that wind energy will provide the largest source of renewable energy to achieve these targets.
Over the last five years the European Investment Bank has provided more than EUR 1.4 billion for energy infrastructure in Ireland, including renewable energy, improvements to transmission, electric car infrastructure and gas power generation.
Signature of the Bord Gáis onshore wind programme will bring the total EIB funding for investment in infrastructure in Ireland to EUR 400 million in 2012.