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WINDS OF CHANGE: SSE partners with Bord na Móna on 800MW onshore wind project in Ireland

LEADING low-carbon energy companies SSE Renewables and Bord na Móna continue to progress their respective portfolios in Ireland, by partnering to develop new onshore wind energy projects across the Midlands.

More than €1 billion could be invested by the joint venture partnership to develop up to 800MW of new renewable energy projects, enough to provide power to over 450,000 homes.

Onshore wind farm projects to be developed as part of the portfolio will include Lemanaghan Wind Farm in northwest Offaly, Littleton Wind Farm in Tipperary, and Garryhinch Wind Farm on the Laois Offaly border.

The partnership has the potential to support hundreds of jobs across the Midlands during the construction and operation of the onshore wind projects.

Two of Ireland’s leading low-carbon energy companies SSE and Bord na Móna have today announced a 50:50 joint venture which will target the delivery of up to 800MW of new renewable onshore wind energy for Ireland.

This partnership marks one of the largest onshore renewable energy joint ventures in the state’s history. More than €1 billion could be invested by Bord na Móna and SSE Renewables over the next decade to deliver a significant portfolio of new onshore wind projects across the Midlands through a lease agreement on existing Bord na Móna lands in suitable locations.

If the projected 800MW of renewable energy projects are fully delivered, it is expected the portfolio could generate a volume of electricity equivalent to the average annual electricity demand of circa half a million homes, while offsetting half a million tonnes of carbon emissions each year* – making a substantial contribution to the nation’s 2030 renewable energy goals set out in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan.

DONE DEAL: John Reilly of Bord na Móna; Heather Donald of SSE Renewables; Laura Burke of SSE Renewables; and Brendan Connoll of Bord na Móna at the launch of striking a €1 billion wind farm deal

SSE Renewables contributes approximately €50m in initial equity consideration for a 50% equity stake in the 800MW onshore wind development portfolio. Delivery of the portfolio is subject to each project receiving planning consent for development, securing a route to market and grid connection. Ahead of development, SSE Renewables and Bord na Móna will reach a final investment decision to progress each project to construction.

SSE Renewables will be fully responsible for each development up to the planning consent process, funding 100 per cent of this phase. After planning consent and grid access is secured, both Bord na Móna and SSE Renewables will fund the development on a 50:50 basis through full business case approval and construction.

The deal, which has reached completion, follows the receipt of Ministerial consent from Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD.

Working together, both companies will leverage their extensive expertise, resources, and presence across Ireland to generate positive outcomes for communities, local economies and climate change. It is anticipated that the delivery of this project will help create new economic opportunities across the Midlands, with the potential to support hundreds of roles during the construction and operation in the lead up to 2030 and beyond.

Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Renewables, said: “At SSE Renewables, we’re proud of our commitment to Ireland. We’ve invested billions so far to deliver the low carbon energy infrastructure needed to help decarbonise Ireland’s energy mix. Our operational onshore wind portfolio is the backbone of Ireland’s clean energy transition, and we’re currently building what will be one of Ireland’s newest wind farms, the 101MW Yellow River project in County Offaly.

“Now, through this important new partnership with Bord na Móna, we can accelerate delivery of up to 800MW of new renewable energy generation for Ireland. By working together, our two organisations can deliver vital new onshore wind projects across the Midlands that will support regional economies and jobs, generate new homegrown energy for Irish consumers, while providing crucial supports to local communities across the heartland of Ireland. And in doing so, our partnership will help power the momentum needed for Ireland to meet its climate action goals for 2030 and beyond.”

WINDS OF CHANGE: A SSE Renewables wind turbine being constructed

Bord na Móna conducted a competitive process, led by KPMG, to secure a partner to develop this portfolio of onshore wind energy projects, with SSE Renewables selected as Bord na Móna’s preferred partner.Tom Donnellan, Bord na Móna Chief Executive, said: “This joint venture marks yet another important milestone in Bord na Móna’s significant transition to become one of the leading renewable energy companies in the country and is an acceleration of a key element of Bord na Móna’s 5GW of renewable energy infrastructure pipeline. Together with SSE Renewables we are committing more than €1 billion of joint investment in this onshore wind partnership across the Midlands which will deliver up to 800MW of renewable energy for Ireland’s national grid over the coming years, an acceleration of our onshore wind pipeline which was originally due to be delivered post 2030.

“Pursuing impactful partnerships with leading businesses like SSE Renewables within the renewable energy space is a significant priority for Bord na Móna as a business – they assist us to deliver our ambitious growth plans and seize opportunities to deliver projects of scale by combining expertise and experience to ultimately help Ireland achieve its ambitious climate targets for 2030 and beyond.

“The portfolio of projects contained within this joint venture will be developed through a lease agreement at sites across Bord na Móna’s landbank, helping to benefit communities we have been operating in for the past 90 years. Our dedicated Community Benefit Fund will also support the local communities neighbouring our wind farm projects which could amount to annual multi-million-euro investments when all projects are fully operational.”

The joint venture includes three projects already in pre-planning development, including the proposed Lemanaghan Wind Farm in north-west Offaly, the proposed Littleton Wind Farm in Tipperary, and the proposed Garryhinch Wind Farm on the border of Laois and Offaly. These three projects have the potential to collectively deliver approximately 250MW of new renewable energy generation for Ireland. The joint venture also intends to progress a portfolio of future development prospects, which will represent up to 550MW of additional new onshore wind energy.

Bord na Móna will lead on Community Engagement across the lifetime of the projects. All onshore wind farms developed by this partnership will have strong commitments to community investment, delivering new public amenities where possible, and contributing to biodiversity net gain across all sites. Once operational, each wind farm will have an associated Community Benefit Fund to invest in local communities across the Midlands. If all projects are delivered, this will provide an annual multi-million-euro contribution to local communities neighbouring the projects right across the Midlands region.

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