A mothballed €48m superdump in Co Cork may become a renewable energy eco-park with wind turbines and food digesters that will generate power for the national grid.
There had been plans to open the superdump at Bottlehill, north of Cork City, in 2010, but by then there was a surplus of landfill space in the country.
As a result, Cork County Council decided it would not be economically viable to open it solely as a landfill, especially as much of the waste generated in the region was already being exported to other dumps around the country.
However, the local authority is in the process of developing a draft plan for its future, which should be completed by the autumn.
Sharon Corcoran, the council’s director of environmental services, said the facility is “a significant piece of existing infrastructure” and had capacity to bury 5.4m tonnes of waste.
Ms Corcoran said cells were opened at the site to deal with 660,000 tonnes of waste and these could be used in the immediate to mid-term future.
She said renewable energy was the way ahead and that, as Bottlehill was on elevated ground, it would be ideal for wind turbines.
Ms Corcoran added that Bottlehill could host “anaerobic digesters” that would create electricity from waste food.
“We are near a major powerline so that’s ideal for transferring energy created on the site,” she said.
“Whilst there is a diminishing requirement for landfill in the future, it must be recognised that the facility could be reconfigured to meet other waste management infrastructural needs, such as an eco-park.”
If the council goes ahead with the eco-park it will have to get the Environmental Protection Agency to amend the licence it granted for Bottlehill.
Fianna Fáil councillor Alan Coleman asked that Ms Corcoran give members an up-to-date breakdown on how much it cost to maintain the site.
A few years ago, council officials said it cost around €200,000 a year to comply with legislation on maintaining Bottlehill.
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