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ESB plots massive Scottish windfarm

The ESB has unveiled plans for a massive 91 megawatt windfarm in Scotland.

The State-owned electricity business has formed a partnership with wind developer Coriolis Energy and the companies are working on a number of projects in that country.

Renewables trade publication ‘ReNews’ said the ESB has kicked off a scoping process for the farm, with plans for 19 turbines that are 175m tall.

The commercial semi-State ESB is trying to add more renewables into its fuel mix and said it “sees significant opportunity to grow its onshore wind business in Scotland.

“The current ESB strategy has identified the need to continue to grow a generation business of scale in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK electricity markets so it can compete,” the ESB said.

“Recognising the long-term imperative to decarbonise society, ESB is investing to reduce the carbon intensity of its power generation plant and increase the role of renewable energy.”

The company is also looking to develop projects in solar, waste-to-energy, biomass and offshore wind among other areas.

It recently took a stake in an offshore wind farm off the coast of Suffolk in the east of Britain.

That came after the company last year put out a tender looking for “the provision of renewable energy marine services related to offshore wind farms”.

It said it had a pipeline with multiple projects being looked at.

It has recently appointed a new renewables business development team to work in the UK, with a particular focus on Scotland, to complement its ambitions to grow renewables in Ireland.

The wind sector is seeing a lot of activity, and two large Irish windfarm portfolios have recently been put on the market by their owners.

AMP Capital, the co-manager of the State-backed Irish Infrastructure Fund (IIF), has hired Evercore to oversee the sale of 110 megawatts of windfarms north and south of the Border.

Separately, investment giant BlackRock has put up a portfolio of European windfarms and solar parks.

Windfarms have proved attractive to long-term investors like pension funds in recent times, as they are seen as offering decent returns over a long period of time.

The ESB said it “remains confident” that “onshore wind is one of the lowest cost renewable generation types available on these islands to meet the challenge of reducing the impact of climate change”.

One megawatt of wind energy is estimated to be enough to power around 600 homes, according to the Irish Wind Energy Association.

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