Ireland gives 300 MW wind farm green light

DUBLIN - July 30, 2003 -- The Irish government has given state-owned peat supplier Bord na Mona and its partner Hibernian Wind Power (HWP) the green light to build a 300 megawatt wind farm in the western Irish county of Mayo.

The planned 300 million euro ($342 million) plant -- expected to be completed by 2010 -- would comprise 192 wind turbines with a total capacity of up to 300 MW and would be one of the largest land-based wind farms in Europe.

"Bord na Mona has got the initial permission and hopefully we can start construction by autumn next year," Brian Ryan of HWP, a unit of Ireland's Electricity Supply Board, told Reuters on Wednesday.

The permission, granted by Mayo County Council for a period of 10 years, carries a number of conditions relating to factors such as environmental impact and proximity to existing homes and these would have to be carefully assessed, he said.

It was premature to comment on a supplier for the wind turbines, he said, adding: "We have an open mind."

HWP already runs several wind farms in Ireland using units supplied by Denmark's Vestas ((VEST.CO)) and Germany's Enercon.

The Mayo wind farm, if it goes ahead, could provide enough energy to supply some 200,000 homes -- around seven percent of Ireland's electricity requirement.

The Irish government aims to have 1,250 megawatts of green energy on line by 2010. To date, wind power has made the most progress, with nearly 200 MW of capacity in place, the Irish Wind Energy Association said.


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