Wind energy sale set to boost jobs
Ireland has agreed to sell wind energy to Britain in a move that could create thousands of jobs.
Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte said the country produces more energy than it can use and that an opportunity to trade with its nearest neighbours cannot be missed.
"Ireland has the potential to generate far more wind energy than we could consume domestically," Mr Rabbitte said. "The opportunity to export this green power presents an opportunity for employment growth and export earnings which we must seize if we can."
Millions of British homes will be powered by clean electricity exported from Ireland following an agreement that could secure the State billions in UK investments.
The Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) estimated that up to 30,000 jobs could be created across the country by 2020. According to the Department of Energy, the construction phase of a 3,000 megawatt project alone could create up to 6,000 jobs.
The ongoing maintenance of turbines could also provide employment as well as the manufacturing of turbine, cables and other technology involved.
A new Bord na Mona project in Co Offaly consisting of 28 wind turbines is expected to provide clean electricity for 45,000 Irish households.
The 80 megawatt Mount Lucas windfarm, one of the biggest in Ireland and the UK, will be just one of a string of clean energy hubs that could export its wind energy across the Irish Sea.
IWEA chief executive Kenneth Matthews said Ireland stands to become a major renewable energy exporter.
"The electricity sector is on the cusp of transformational change with renewables and wind energy at the heart of it," Mr Matthews said. "Efficient use of existing and new interconnectors to increase our ability to integrate wind energy and to export surplus wind-generated electricity will be central to this transition."