Ireland to build world\'s largest wind farm
DUBLIN - Ireland last week approved a 640 million euro (395 million pounds) plan to build the world\'s largest offshore wind farm, capable of generating 520 megawatts of electricity.
Marine and Natural Resources Minister Frank Fahey said the wind farm, in the Irish Sea off County Wicklow on Ireland\'s east coast, would be three times the size of all the existing wind farms in the world put together.
\"Today heralds the dawning of a new age of clean, green energy, harvested from two plentiful renewable sources, the sea and the wind,\" said Fahey at a Foreshore Lease signing ceremony in Dublin.
The facility, to be built on a sandbank by a private Irish company called Eirtricity, should supply about 10 percent of the country\'s energy needs, the minister said.
\"I am particularly pleased that this project, the most ambitious offshore wind energy development ever undertaken, is being undertaken by a dynamic Irish company who have already established a track record in renewable energy projects.\"
Fahey also said the station, about four miles offshore at its nearest point, should reduce Ireland\'s emissions of harmful carbon dioxide gas by 13.5 million tonnes a year.
Eirtricity hopes to begin construction work in the Spring, with the first phase of the project, generating 60 megawatts, going into operation in the Autumn.
When finished the wind farm will be made up of 200 giant turbines sunk into the 27-kilometre long Arklow Sandbank.
Eirtricity is headed by Eddie O\'Connor, former boss of the state-sponsored Bord Na Mona peat-producing company. The company is 51 percent owned by Ireland\'s National Toll Roads, with the balance controlled by a consortium of investors including O\'Connor.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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