Irish wind farms could generate electricity for UK

October 18, 2012 at 10:51 am

Wind power is being seen as one of the potential ways to help to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and enable the UK to reach its renewables target. However, it has been faced with a number of problems including the expense of producing offshore wind and complaints in rural areas due to unsightly wind turbines.

Now, however, another solution has been proposed: to outsource the production of electricity from wind turbines to Ireland.

The proposal has been made by the American company Element Power, which is calling the project ‘Greenwire’. The proposal is to build wind farms in the Bog of Allen in Ireland and transport the electricity back to the UK underneath the Irish Sea in two large cables.

The project would involve the construction of 700 wind turbines, which could lead to the production of 3GW of electricity (enough to power three million homes) and create thousands of jobs at the same time. If it goes ahead, it could begin to generate power by 2018.

The proposal has a budget of £5bn, but it could save £7bn over 15 years due to the cheaper costs of onshore wind power compared to offshore power.

Executives from Element Power have stated that the plan already has the support of the Irish government. However, it is far from being finalised and there are still reservations about the UK providing subsidies to a project outside the country.

Mike O’Neill is the president of Element Power and said that he thinks it will be easier to get planning permission for the wind farms in Ireland as long as it is done “in a sensible and sensitive way”.

It seems as if there is a long way to go before any decisions are made, but it is certainly an interesting option that could solve a number of issues for the government.

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