The Irish Infrastructure Fund and Viridian-owned Energia have jointly opened Northern Ireland’s newest wind farms at Killeter, Co. Tyrone. The wind farms on Crighshane and Church Hill will generate 50.6 megawatts (MW). This represents a 12% increase in Northern Ireland’s total operating wind farm capacity to 448MW.
The wind farms which represent a £60m investment were officially opened by Ian Thom, Chief Executive of Viridian Group, today, Thursday 11th October 2012 at Crighshane wind farm in the presence of local councilors, officials, business people, local schools and community representatives.
The wind farms are majority owned by the Irish Infrastructure Fund established by Irish Life Investment Managers, and managed by AMP Capital. They were developed and operated by Energia Renewables. The electricity generated is being sold to business customers throughout Ireland by Energia.
Peter Baillie, Managing Director, Energia Renewables said the latest additions are clear evidence of Energia’s commitment to renewable energy.
“We are delighted to be opening the 50.6MW wind farms today. Along with other recent wind farms at Corkemore (Killybegs) and Drumlough Hill (Ballyliffin) and Caherdowney (Millstreet), it is proof of Energia’s ongoing commitment to invest in and develop renewable energy,” said Mr Baillie.
“The company has consistently been one of the largest investors in the renewable sector,” says Mr Baillie. “We have invested €200 million in the last two years in over 100MW of wind farm developments and we are also supporting third party wind generator investments of €600m in more than 450MW of wind farms throughout Ireland through long-term off-take agreements” he said.
“We want to extend a big thank you to the local community for the support it has given these wind farms; this is a very positive and significant step forward for renewable energy in Northern Ireland and local support for the project is a key element to their success.”
“All of our wind farm developments bring substantial benefits to the local economies, including jobs, increased rates for the local authorities and improvements to local infrastructure such as roads.”
“We are also pleased to announce that the local community will benefit from the Irish Infrastructure and Energia community fund, which will shortly open for applications. The first year of the fund will welcome applications up to £50,600 from within the local area, and is expected to contribute around £800,000 to the local community over the lifetime of the windfarms.”
Ian Thom, Chief Executive, Viridian Group said the company has a strong future.
“Energia is proud to be one of Ireland’s leading low-carbon-intensity energy suppliers, contracting with over 550MW of operational wind farms, and a further 290MW in development.
“This totals 840MW of contracted renewable power, representing around 25% of the Irish renewable market, by 2013, putting us at the top of the list of those helping Ireland reach the targets of sourcing 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.”
The launch was part of an open day being hosted by the Irish Infrastructure Fund and Energia at the wind farm to mark the occasion. Local school children and members of the public visited the wind farm for events which included tours of the wind generators, hand painting of the turbines and presentations on the technology and impact of wind power.
The event was attended by school children from a number of local schools including Envagh PS, Erganagh PS, Killen PS, St Cairaell’s PS and St Patricks PS.
Energia has approximately 28% share of the Irish business electricity market supplying the energy needs of over 60,000 business customers. In addition to renewable assets, the company also operates 747MW of gas fired power stations in north Dublin.