The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has agreed a package of measures for the 600 farmers who will be affected by the proposed 5,000MW Energy-Bridge wind power project covering seven counties in the midlands.
IFA President John Bryan said, “This agreement with Mainstream Renewable Power provides market-leading terms for farmers, which will safeguard their interests and maximise their entitlements from the wind power project”.
He said that a number of wind energy companies, including Mainstream, had ambitious plans to develop the sector in the midlands, and it was critically important that the projects are given every opportunity to succeed as there are potentially major benefits for the country.
IFA Regional Vice President Jer Bergin added, “The robust package of measures secured by IFA will result in farmers receiving improved option payments and annual payments. In addition to this, the Association has secured a reduction in the obligations being imposed on farmers”.
John Bryan concluded, “This market-leading agreement has now set a new standard in the wind development industry, and it is essential that all farmers ensure that they get the best returns and terms and conditions in the option and lease contracts they are being asked to sign”.
Commenting on the announcement, Eddie O’Connor, Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power said: “Mainstream Renewable Power is delighted to have reached an agreement with IFA on behalf of landowners. This is a clear acknowledgement of Mainstream’s commitment to ensuring everyone is treated with respect and that everyone gets the best possible deal.
He continued: “Mainstream’s Energy Bridge will bring widespread economic benefits such as rental payments to landowners, council rates and of course the big opportunity is manufacturing. Energy Bridge will need 1,700 turbine towers, 5,000 blades, 1,700 nacelles, 16,000 kilometres of inter-array cabling, 1,700 converters, 30 electrical substations and 400km of HVDC underground cables. Our goal is to get as much of this manufactured here in Ireland which could create up to 40,000 jobs.
Energy Bridge is progressing very well; we have a grid offer for 5,000MW and we’ve just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UK’s National Grid and REN of Portugal for the transmission system which will transport the power to the UK. But let’s be under no illusion, this isn’t going to happen without local support. This is a real opportunity to stimulate economic growth relatively fast – if Ireland doesn’t grasp it, another country will.”