Renewable energy developer Element Power has signed an option agreement to lease land from Coillte, an Ireland-based natural resources company, that will enable Element Power to consider wind farm development on some Coillte-owned sites in the Irish midlands as part of a major wind energy export project.
The deal gives Element Power the potential to incorporate a selection of Coillte sites within clusters of wind farms being developed for the Greenwire project across the counties of Kildare, Laois, Meath, Offaly and Westmeath.
According to Element Power, Greenwire is the first and only wind power export project in Ireland with firm grid connection to the U.K. national grid. Earlier this year, the project secured two connection points in Wales and has a goal of delivering 3 GW of wind energy from Ireland to the U.K. by 2018.
"We intend having option agreements with all landowners who wish to participate in this project completed and signed early next year, with a view to submitting a planning application by the end of 2013," explains Tim Cowhig, CEO of Element Power Ireland. "Those plans are firmly on course, and this announcement gives our project substantial additional momentum."
Element Power says no new overhead lines will be used for this project, which is being developed independently of the Irish electric grid and supplying the power generated directly to the U.K. via underground and undersea cabling.
The company also launched the process of requesting submissions of interest for further strategic partners for Greenwire.