Potential to create 40,000 manufacturing jobs
Mainstream Renewable Power, the global wind and solar company set up by Eddie O’Connor, which is behind the 5,000MW Energy Bridge export plan has welcomed today’s Memorandum of Understanding between the British and Irish governments to export Irish wind power to the UK.
Commenting on the signing, Mainstream’s Chief Executive Eddie O’Connor said: “Today is a very meaningful step towards creating a €2.5 billion energy export industry for Ireland which is equal to our dairy exports in 2011. Mainstream has secured a firm grid connection to the UK and we are on track to start exporting in 2017.”
He continued: “We haven’t seen anything like the scale of this anywhere in the world. 5,000 megawatts is roughly equivalent to Ireland’s peak electricity demand and this brings massive opportunities for job creation. Germany creates eight jobs for each megawatt of wind energy installed whereas in Ireland we only have one job for each megawatt. That is because Germany has a strong manufacturing base. Here in Mainstream we are strongly focused on bringing the manufacturing base to Ireland and we’re in talks with major players to make this happen. If we could achieve German levels of employment, 5,000MW could bring up to 40,000 jobs.”
He finished: “Today’s MoU needs to lead to a full agreement between the two governments as quickly as possible. Speed is of the essence. The lead-time for High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) equipment is in excess of three years. To deliver our first electricity to the UK by 2017 will require a full agreement between the governments in the coming months.”
Energy Bridge is on track to start exporting wind power for the Irish midlands from 2017. Since it was launched in June 2012 Mainstream Renewable Power’s Energy Bridge has:
• Secured a “firm” grid connection to the UK’s national grid.
• 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
• Mainstream’s offering was endorsed by the Irish Farmers Association in September 2012.
• Started the Environmental Impact Assessment process with a comprehensive ornithology study (bird monitoring) and wind analysis programme in October 2012.
• Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with National Grid’s unregulated business and REN of Portugal for the transmission infrastructure.
Once fully operational Energy Bridge has the potential to bring the following benefits:
• €34 million every year in County Council rates.
• 40,000 manufacturing jobs.
• €2.5 billion every year in export revenue.
• €12 billion in tax revenues over 25 years.