ESB and Bord na Móna have announced a co-development agreement which will see them develop solar power in four locations in Roscommon, Offaly and Kildare.
Once completed, it is estimated that it will provide renewable energy to power the equivalent of 150,000 homes.
The joint venture will access part of Bord na Móna’s land in locations across the midlands and the two semi-state companies have committed €10 million (€5 million each) to kickstart the project.
Speaking at the launch, ESB chief executive Pat O’Doherty said the company is “committed to a future where low-carbon electricity powers a low-carbon society. We already have an established position in the solar market in Ireland, with both ground mounted and rooftop solar projects under development.”
O’Doherty added that the new partnership will “help Ireland meet its carbon reduction targets beyond 2020″.
Renewable energy in Ireland is currently predominantly generated from the wind, with the government seeking to introduce more diversity in the sector.
CEO of Bord na Móna, Mike Quinn added, “The solar industry, although in its infancy here in Ireland, has the potential to form an important part of Ireland’s future energy mix in the medium to long term. To that end, ESB and Bord na Mona believe in collaborating on, and investing in, the development of this clean and efficient energy source.”
Climate Action Minister Denis Naughten also spoke at the launch, noting: “Government policy sets a vision of a low-carbon energy future by 2050 which will include greater levels of energy efficiency and renewable energy with an associated reduction in our dependence on fossil fuels.
“We need to focus on areas where the impact on emissions is greatest, and adopt technologies that are as cost-effective as possible and that fit with our carbon reduction targets.
“We have made great progress in the decarbonisation of our electricity sector with over 25% of our electricity coming from renewable sources. We need to continue this progress in the electricity sector but also increase our efforts in the transport and heating sectors.”
Just last week, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criticised the government in a damning report for being unlikely to reach its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets. The worrying report predicts that Ireland will miss its EU greenhouse gas emissions targets, and by a considerable margin too.