Mainstream signs “firm” export link to the UK

Half of land already secured with public consultation to start this spring

Global renewable energy company Mainstream Renewable Power has finalised negotiations with UK’s National Grid for 5,000MW of “firm” access to be delivered to the UK National Grid from 2017 to 2020. The company’s Board today approved the second payment at a meeting of its Risk and Investment Committee.

Since first announcing its “Energy Bridge” export plans in June of last year the company has signed contracts with 300 private landowners in the midlands which is 50% of the land required, with the remainder currently being finalised with landowners’ solicitors. In October of last year the company started extensive bird studies and wind analysis campaigns in the project areas and has plans to start a comprehensive public consultation process in the spring of this year once all of the land has been secured. In September Mainstream signed a Memorandum of Understanding with National Grid’s business development team and REN of Portugal for the physical transmission system which will export the electricity to the UK.

There has also been significant progress politically. A Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed between the Irish and British governments for the export of power from Ireland to the UK and late last year the UK released its new Energy Bill which, for the first time, makes specific provision for an Energy Bridge type project.

Once fully operational Energy Bridge has the potential to:
•    Generate €34 million every year in County Council rates.
•    Create 54,000 new jobs in manufacturing, construction and operations & maintenance.
•    €2.5 billion every year in export revenue.
•    €12 billion in tax revenues over 25 years.

Commenting on the announcement, Mainstream’s Chief Executive Eddie O’Connor said:

“I am delighted to announce that we have signed our grid connection for 2017. Energy Bridge is now firmly on track to start exporting power from 2017.

In a few short months we’ve signed up half the land we need since the IFA endorsed our offering to farmers back in September.  We’re working with National Grid’s unregulated business and REN on the transmission infrastructure side. Politically the UK and Irish governments have agreed a MoU for the export of power to the UK and this bilateral agreement is expected to be signed later this month.

This is game changer for Ireland. It is going to bring massive benefits in terms of jobs, tax revenues and council rates.”