Sunday 9 November 2008

Further energy developments planned for Mayo

Mayo could become a new energy centre for Ireland under government plans for further energy developments near the contentious Corrib gas pipeline in the north of the county.

Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, plans to ‘‘encourage the development of a new gas plant’’ in the area and support development of the electricity grid to connect to the area. He said the government had already committed to developing a wave or tidal grid connection out to the sea near Belmullet.

A proposed wind farm of 44 turbines for the Erris Peninsula in north Mayo has already been designated a strategic infrastructure development and may be fast-tracked under planning law. Ryan said the moves should bring ‘‘long-term sustainable jobs for the area’’.

‘‘We need an energy revolution ... Mayo will become a centre point of the new energy future for Ireland,” Ryan said.

‘‘We have some of the best renewable energy resources in the world - some of the best ocean resources are in the north-west of the country. Some of the best wind resources in the world are in the same area.”

The government last week announced a new community forum which it hopes will help supporters and opponents of the Shell gas pipeline to reach agreement. Eamon O’Cuiv, Minister for Community, Gaeltacht and Rural Affairs, said Mayo had suffered from unemployment and that it was time for the community ‘‘to seize this opportunity for long-term jobs.

‘‘Divided, they cannot reach their potential,” he said. He highlighted the funding available to the Erris community from the €17 million Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta fund, were ‘‘the community to move forward and work together’’.

Sunday Business Post

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