Fine Gael Senate Spokesman on Energy, Communications and Natural Resources, Tony Mulcahy has welcomed a decision by members of Clare County Council to back the rezoning of lands at Stonehall, near Newmarket on Fergus, to facilitate the development of a large-scale renewable energy projects.
The majority of Clare’s 32 Elected Members this evening voted in favour of rezoning an 80-acre tract of land at Stonehall, which was has been included in the Shannon Town & Environs Local Area Plan 2012-2018.
Senator Mulcahy said the move paved the way for third parties to develop green energy projects in line with the objectives for Shannon set out in the Clare County Development Plan.
“I wish to congratulate Clare County Council for its vision in facilitating the creation of a green energy valley that provides a reliable source of energy for Shannon Town, including the Airport and Free Zone. I also want to compliment the Council’s Elected Members, interested third parties and residents of Stonehall who contributed to today’s decision”, stated the Shannon-based Senator.
Senator Mulcahy said he supported one particular project that has already been earmarked for Stonehall, pending a successful application to the planning authority.
“I have met with Carbon Sole Group on numerous occasions in recent months. I believe that the company’s proposal to develop a 70MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility at Stonehall would help to create and sustain hundreds of jobs directly throughout the region, as well as provide a clean, cheap and reliable source of energy to the surrounding hinterland, attracting employment intensive investment to the District Heat Network.”
“The company has informed me that it has selected Shannon as a possible location for the CHP, due to its close proximity to forested regions where bio-fuel could be sourced but also due to the size and layout of the town with respect to industrial & commercial areas that will benefit from future foreign direct investment (FDI) attracted to a Carbon Neutral Zone, as the town will be no longer reliant on fossil fuels and associated thermal energy price fluctuations,” he said.
Senator Mulcahy noted: “The rezoning decision allows the Carbon Sole Group Ltd, the technology delivery partners Green Exergy AB (Swedish company experienced in delivering efficient clean CHP) and other third parties interested in developing green energy projects in Shannon to progress their plans, and in doing so give Shannon town and its environs a valuable opportunity to secure both long-term energy security and a low carbon future.”
Senator Mulcahy said plans to develop the facility were already at an advanced stage. He commented: “Carbon Sole Group’s grid connection application for a Shannon Biomass HeCHP has been deemed completed by ESB Networks and Eirgrid. The company is awaiting a decision from the Commission for Energy Regulation on priority despatch as per SEM market decisions, in line with renewable electricity and heat targets. The decision requires further clarity on the efficiency certification process with respect to “useable heat” as when distributed through district heat networks in order to facilitate extra capacity to attract future employment to Shannon and the regeneration of the industrial and commercial estates.”
Senator Mulcahy continued: “As spokesperson for The Oireachtas Committee on Energy & Natural Resources I have met with Sean Daly (CEO of Carbon Sole Group Ltd) and Rolf Lindgren (Vice President of Green Exergy AB). It is clear that both parties have the proven ability to deliver world-class biomass High Efficiency Combined Heat & Power and related green energy infrastructure/district heat network.”
“These investments in green energy and infrastructure will deliver increased GDP whilst reducing CO₂ emissions as proven in Sweden, a win-win for the Midwest region. More importantly, this is an investment in job intensive green energy, built on farming and forestry supply chains. This process will deliver direct employment in the operations and full-time equivalents in harvesting, haulage, installation of the district heating (DH) network, heat exchangers and servicing of such, further downstream attracting FDI to a sustainable regional carbon neutral economy,” Senator Mulcahy concluded.