Bord na Móna to spend €1.2bn

Bord na Móna is to invest €1.2bn on expanding its services over the next 13 years, with the expenditure going towards strengthening its wind and solar energy, biomass and fuels interests.

More than €500,000 of that has already been earmarked for recently-announced solar energy plans. The renewable energy-focused semi-state utility unveiled, in April, a joint-venture plan with the ESB to develop four solar energy farms in Roscommon, Offaly and Kildare — to be operational by 2019 — to power 150,000 homes from 1% of the company’s landbank.

Ongoing funding will also be pumped into Bord na Móna’s rapidly growing wind energy business with construction pending on new projects in counties Mayo and Longford and a planning application being readied for a wind farm in co Offaly.

“The development of new wind-energy projects will continue on a strong expansionary track in the coming years. This will build on the success we have had this year following the commissioning of the Sliabh Bawn project with Coillte and the securing of new planning permissions for Cloncreen and Oweninny windfarms,” said chief executive Mike Quinn.

He said extra investment will be made in the company’s fuels business, in the further development of its domestic and overseas biomass supply chain and in its long-standing waste management subsidiary AES. He also confirmed that Bord na Móna has begun legal proceedings against a €14m impairment charge taken on its acquisition of the White Moss Horticulture business in the UK.

Mr Quinn was speaking on the back of the publication of Bord na Móna’s annual report and accounts for 2016. The company generated a turnover of €406m and post-exceptional operating profits of €24.7m last year.

Those figures were down by €26m and €13m on the previous year but were deemed to be better-than- expected as 2016 was the first year Bord na Móna operated without the public service obligation payment support from the Government in relation to peat supply. As a consequence, the amount the company paid to the State, in terms of a dividend, fell from €10.1m to €4.5m.

“The loss of the public service obligation is one aspect of the change process we are undergoing which will fundamentally alter the business profile of Bord na Móna between now and 2030,” Mr Quinn said.

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