Offaly councillor requests meeting with Leo Varadkar over green energy plans

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Offaly councillor requests meeting with Leo Varadkar over green energy plans

Offaly councillor requests meeting with Leo Varadkar over green energy plans

Fine Gael councillor Noel Cribbin has contacted Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, in a bid to confirm the next steps in bringing the North Offaly Green Energy Hub to life.

Cllr Cribbin was instrumental in the plan for the Green Hub to be included in the Programme for Government and developments in recent weeks mean that the time has come for further action to take advantage of the massive investment and job opportunities a Green Energy Hub represents for Edenderry and the entire North Offaly area, according to the councillor.

Cllr Cribbin has participated in a Zoom meeting with representatives from Bord na Mona, Deputy Charlie Flanagan, and Minister Pippa Hackett, along with Orla Martin from the Local Enterprise Office in Offaly CoCo and Niall Kelly of the Cube in Portlaoise, in light of proposals by Bord na Mona for a third windfarm to be located between Edenderry and Rathangan.

At the meeting, Cllr. Cribbin proposed that energy from the proposed windfarm be used for industrial purposes, which would help greatly in driving industry, particularly in the data centre space, into the region. He added that this, combined with the other six windfarms planned for, and Edenderry Power plant, has the potential to generate 1000 MW of Green Electricity - enough green energy to power all of Leinster.

Cllr Cribbin quoted a recent article in the Irish Independent outlining plans by electricity provider, Energia, which is 'currently researching the potential feasibility for the possible location of a sustainably managed Carbon Neutral Data Centre and are in exploratory discussions with An Bord Pleanala.’

The article goes on to say that EirGrid, which manages the country’s transmission network, has suggested that future data centre developments should be required to provide their own power generation.

Cllr Cribbin also highlighted the significant savings that would be made by data centre operators by constructing and locating their operations in the Midlands and outside of the capital, while availing of Offaly’s excellent transport links.

Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, Cllr Cribbin said, "There was a general consensus in relation to the proposal and the decision was made to now involve Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar.

"I’ve emailed the Tánaiste and requested that a meeting is arranged with all stakeholders to advance this proposal. The people of Edenderry and North Offaly have had to deal with the consequences of windfarms being built on their doorsteps and now is the time for them to gain some benefit from that, with the much-needed investment and job creation that this opportunity presents."