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Coillte and ESB in talks about renewable electricity joint venture

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Feb 12, 2019

  • Industry Updates

State companies Coillte and the ESB are in talks that might spark a €1 billion investment in wind farms, which could generate enough electricity to power more than 500,000 homes.

Coillte had been seeking a partner to work with it on building wind farms on land the forestry company owns after identifying a series of suitable locations.

Both it and the ESB confirmed on Monday they were discussing establishing a joint venture that could develop renewable energy plants with the ability to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity by 2030, enough to power about half a million homes, according to Coillte.

Fergal Leamy, Coillte’s chief executive, said that the joint venture could invest about €1 billion over its lifetime. “It is roughly around €1 million a megawatt,” he said.

Coillte has begun work on 12 sites that it identified as having the best wind speeds and which were located suitable distances away from their local communities. Ultimately the joint venture could build 20 to 30 such generating plants.

Talks are due to conclude in May and if successful, ESB would acquire 50 per cent of the joint venture and provide services to the enterprise. The new business would use Coillte’s sites and wind farm development staff.

“Over the past few years we have put together a wind energy team and we felt the best way forward was to hive that off into a separate entity to focus on renewable energy development,” he said.

Initially, Coillte and the ESB could invest about €50 million each in the venture. Both will put up 30 per cent of the cost of each project between them and borrow 70 per cent.

Source Irish Times 11/02/19

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