Huge Irish Wind Project Would Send 3000 Megawatts to the United Kingdom


Like many countries in Europe, Ireland has lofty renewable energy goals. One ambitious plan currently under discussion would feature construction of more than 700 wind turbines in central Ireland, with a capacity of 3,000 megawatts. The strange part, though, is that these turbines, built in the huge Bog of Allen, would be entirely independent of the Irish electricity grid. In fact, the entire point would be to send the power under the Irish Sea to the United Kingdom.

Element Power’s proposed project, dubbed Greenwire, would cost as much as £6.5 billion ($10.4 billion). The “small clusters of onshore wind farms in the Irish Midlands” would connect to a set of redundant high-voltage direct current cables that would carry the power to two landing points in Pentir and Pembroke, both in Wales, where they would connect to the UK grid. If some financing issues involving energy subsides can be resolved, developers think the power could start flowing by 2018. They already have the grid connections in Wales secured for 2017 and 2018.

Element says the onshore turbines would save £7 billion for UK consumers compared to building an equivalent amount of wind power offshore, which is where much effort and money are being spent these days. It would also provide substantial income for Ireland, one of the countries central to the ongoing European Union debt crisis.…