Wind power solution to energy needs

WIND power could be used to generate over one-third of the energy needs of the entire island of Ireland by 2020, a new study has revealed.

Energy regulators on both sides of the border have found that by the year 2020wind energy could be generating up to 8,000 megawatts of electricity - around 35% of all power generation.

Chairman of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) Tim Cowhig said: "When you look at rising oil prices and the absolute certainty that supplies are rapidly being exhausted and combine that with the issue of global warming, then the case for expanding wind power in Ireland is obvious."

Dr Ronan Doherty, a technical assistant on the 2020 All-Island Grid Project, said a mix of sources would be used to meet future energy needs, including wind energy.

At the conference in Galway organised by the IWEA, Mr Cowhig said: "This is a very positive scenario as far as we are concerned and it augurs well for wind energy in Ireland if implemented."

The increasing evidence of global warming and the decline in oil supplies has increased the level of interest in renewable energy.

A consultants' report for Marine Institute last year found the outstanding wind, wave and tidal regime in the Irish Sea offered very high growth prospects and attractive investment potential over the next four years.

It was confirmed this week that a licence was granted by the Natural Resources Department for an €85 million wind farm to be set-up off the coast of Co Louth.

The Clogherhead wind farm will have the potential to supply energy to customers on both sides of the border and its first phase is expected to be completed by 2009.

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