Ireland’s largest ever windfarm officially has opened following a €145m investment by Energia at Meenadreen in south Donegal.
Ireland’s leading competitive energy provider Energia will use power from Meenadreen to supply green electricity to homes and SMEs all over Ireland. Energia is already well established as the most competitive dual fuel (electricity and gas) provider in Ireland’s home energy market. The company is now also one of the country’s leading providers of sustainable green energy and 25% of all wind generated electricity in Ireland is provided through Energia.
Energia has invested over €500m in wind farms since 2008. Its new Meenadreen windfarm is among the most technologically advanced generating facilities in the world with 38 turbines producing 95 Megawatts (MW) of electricity.
Each turbine stands 115 metres high with a rotor diameter of 90 metres generating power from strong wind pathways in the area. As Energia’s newest windfarm, Meenadreen alone can power up to 50,000 homes using wind energy which will reduce Ireland’s carbon dioxide emissions by up to 100,000 tonnes each year.
Energia has also successfully completed a pilot project for autonomous drone inspections through predetermined flight paths around the turbines. The new drone capability has the potential to automatically identify snags or defects and helps to enhance overall efficiency and safety on site.
The new windfarm was formally opened by Ian Thom, Group Chief Executive of Energia’s parent company Viridian Group and Peter Bailie, Managing Director of Energia Renewables, together with the Mayor of Donegal Town, Patricia Callaghan.
Energia Renewables is one of Ireland’s leading providers of sustainable green energy providing 25% of Ireland’s overall wind power to homes and businesses nationwide. Energia currently supplies its customers from over 1,000 MWs (1GW) of renewable energy capacity, with an additional €125m ongoing investment in wind farm developments where 4 further windfarms are currently being built by the company, bringing our total investment to €625m.
Over 250 children from local primary schools will tour the new facility marking Global Wind Day 2017. Energia also announced the funding of €95,000 for a third phase of its Meenadreen Community Fund, which has already invested €45,000 to date in projects of benefit to local communities throughout the surrounding region. The fund is independently administered by Community Foundation Ireland.
Ian Thom, Group Chief Executive of Viridian, said “Energia is one of Ireland’s leading energy investment partners underpinning national competitiveness and the long term sustainability and security of energy supply for the future. We’re helping to achieve Ireland’s renewable energy targets through our major renewable energy portfolio where we provide electricity from wind farms all over Ireland.
“We are proud to bring Ireland’s largest windfarm onto the national grid to power homes and businesses all over the island with naturally and sustainably produced electricity.”
Energia expressed its strong appreciation to the local community for their support and co-operation with the company as it set about developing the new windfarm.
Peter Baillie, Managing Director of Energia Renewables said, “This is an internationally prestigious development which is contributing to economic growth and the wellbeing of communities across the island of Ireland through the clean and efficient production of renewable energy. We look forward to our continuing partnership with our neighbouring communities through the Meenadreen Community Fund. We will also be a continuing contributor of local authority rates for the lifespan of the windfarm which will be a minimum of 25 years.”
The Meenadreen windfarm has 38 Nordex N90 2.5MW turbines. Taking just over 2 years to complete, its development by Energia Renewables was financed by loans from NordLB supported by Euler Hermes. Construction was carried out by Denis Moriarty “The Kerries” Limited and electrical works by Kirby Group limited. Engineering services were provided by Wind Prospect and Jennings O’Donovan, with legal support from Arthur Cox.