Electricity plan powers on
A multi-million euro plan to harness water in the Silvermines Mountains to generate enough green electricity sufficient to power over 200,000 homes has moved a significant step forward to becoming a reality following substantial financial funding from Europe, it emerged this week.
The company behind what is set to be one of the largest private infrastructural projects in the history of the State was recently granted €4.3 million by the European Climate Innovation and Networks Executive Agency, in a move that underlines the EU’s wholehearted support for green renewable energy projects that help mitigate the threat to life on Earth posed by global heating.
The highly ambitious project promoted by Silvermines Hydro is now more than ever close to becoming a reality, with the company announcing its intention to advance with the highly complex permit granting process for the hydro-electricity plant.
The company’s Development Director Darren Quinn said this latest move marks a “significant step” forward in making the project a reality and marks what he calls “a pivotal moment in the growth of the Silvermines Hydroelectric Power Station”.
Two years ago the EU indicated that the Silvermines project was one of a list of signature projects being promoted across the continent that was capable of generating green renewable energy and tackling climate change.
Mr Quinn expressed excitement for the future of the project. “We're making solid progress towards our goal of generating, storing, and transmitting green renewable energy,” he said.
He revealed that the project, initially costed at €650 million, was now at a critical juncture as it prepares to meet complex regulatory requirements and advance through all statutory processes.
Mr Quinn said the company was working to achieving “a powerful energy storage solution” that involved using two reservoirs in the mountains to generate green electricity.
“The capacity plan includes 1.8GWh of storage, 360MW of export capacity, and 360MW of pumping load,” said Mr Quinn. He went on to reveal: “We are making good progress…Our enthusiasm lies in collaborating with the local community to realise this significant project, which will not only advance Ireland's renewable energy future but also create opportunities for the rural communities.”
Mr Quinn said his company was pleased to announce a significant boost in its funding with the European Commission's generous support through the European Union's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
“The European Climate Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (CINEA) has awarded Silvermines Hydro a substantial grant of €4.3 million in June 2023,” he revealed.
Mr Quinn expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Irish Government and the European Commission.
He stated: “The CEF grant represents a major milestone for Silvermines Hydro. It not only provides vital financial assistance but also serves as a strong vote of confidence in our project’s potential and its alignment with the European Union’s strategic goals.”
Mr Quinn said the funding received from the CEF will play a pivotal role in supporting the next phase of development.
“With this significant financial support, the company can move forward with greater confidence, making substantial progress in harnessing clean and renewable energy while contributing to the European Union’s sustainable energy objectives.”
Since 2011, the company has pioneered the Silvermines Hydroelectric Power Station project, repurposing a former mining site for efficient and green energy production.
A planning application for the development will ultimately be made to Tipperary County Council, which is bound to look favourably on the plan given the support it has received at European and State level.
The multi-million euro hydro-generating electricity project has received great support from the Government which views it as a highly effective way of generating green electricity capable of addressing the country’s energy shortages while helping Ireland reach its goals of reducing carbon emission to tackle global heating.
KELLY WELCOMES PROGRESS
Tipperary Labour Party TD Alan Kelly, who has been helping to promote the project since its inception, said he was delighted that a formal application was now about to be made to An Bord Pleanala in relation to the plans.
huge support for project
Deputy Kelly stated: “This is a project I have supported publicly since 2015 and worked with the promoters every step of the way. The fact that the European Commission is co-funding this planning application to the tune of €4.3m demonstrates the need for this infrastructure. There is a long road ahead with the planning process set to take between one and two years, but this is an incredibly important milestone.
“It is expected that the new plant will be commissioned by 2030 with construction taking a number of years. I would like to congratulate Darren Quinn, Silvermines Hydro and their team on getting this project to this stage. It is a fantastic achievement and I know there is huge support for it at local and Government level.”