By Aoife Garvey, Associate Solicitor, Business Department
The potential for wind power to produce bright clean energy in a world darkened by gloomy carbon footprints is increasingly being recognised. Wind energy brings with it many advantages; its primary raw material is free, it provides one of the safest and most economical ways of producing energy, and of course, it is a resource that we, in Ireland, have in abundance, recognised often in our folklore – “May the wind be always at your back”.
Many will be surprised to hear that Ireland could soon have enough wind farms to meet almost all of current peak electricity demand on its system. Despite our relatively recent launch, as a nation, into wind energy, wind farms operating in Ireland already currently produce 807 mega watts (“MW”) of electricity. The Commission for Energy Regulation (“CER”) has already approved wind farms with the capacity to generate a total of 1,750 MW. It is expected that the next round of approvals from the CER will bring the capacity of the Republic’s wind farms to 5,000 MW, which is in or around the level of peak demand, sourced currently from conventional sources such as oil and gas.
The East/West electricity connector which is to be constructed between Ireland and Wales will have the capacity to allow power to flow both ways between the two countries and will have the capacity to carry 500 MW. It is hoped that as wind energy expands in this country, that the inter-connector will permit the sale of wind energy to the UK market into the future, although its original provenance was to ensure security of supply for the Irish market! We understand that this project is already at tender stage and is being constructed on schedule. The prospects for Irish developers are considerable.
It is clear that developments in this area are evolving at a speed capable of generating many mega watts. Holmes O’Malley Sexton has already been involved in a significant number of wind projects and we are happy to assist in their continued growth over what we hope will be a windy (but bright) future ahead.
We can assist our clients with considered advice in respect of the following:-
- Land leases and property issues with adjoining landowners
- Planning and consent issues during the development stage
- Project Finance and BES Arrangements
- Joint Venture and other commercial arrangements including liaising with client banks
- Plant supply and maintenance/ turnkey agreements
The potential for wind power to produce bright clean energy is increasingly being recognised.
Developments in this area are evolving at a speed capable of generating many mega watts.
Ireland could soon have enough wind farms to meet almost all current peak electricity demands on its system.