Jobs windfall on way

LAOIS has moved closer to a much needed jobs windfall with yesterday’s (Tuesday) announcement by an energy company for a proposed 40 separate wind farms across the midlands, and emerging plans which favour the Togher Inland Port at Portlaoise as the site for the revived sugar beet industry in Ireland.

LAOIS has moved closer to a much needed jobs windfall with yesterday’s (Tuesday) announcement by an energy company for a proposed 40 separate wind farms across the midlands, and emerging plans which favour the Togher Inland Port at Portlaoise as the site for the revived sugar beet industry in Ireland.

Element Power, a renewable energy developer announced plans for an ambitious project which will see wind power generated in the midlands exported to the UK.

The project, titled ‘Greenwire’ will see the wind energy delivered across the Irish Sea via two subsea cables, and the linking together of the windfarms through underground cabling.

The proposal will involve a total spend of €8 billion during the construction phase, of which a significant proportion will be spent in developing wind energy infrastructure.

It is estimated that it will lead to the creation of an estimated 10,000 development and construction jobs and up to 3,000 long term jobs.

The company has said that Greenwire will deliver considerable direct benefits to the midlands region.

“Rental payments to local landowners combined with annual rates to the local authorities across the midlands will amount to €50million each year,” it stated.

Meanwhile, the Togher Inland Port at Portlaoise is emerging as one of the preferred locations for a new sugar beet and ethanol plant as part of a major effort to revive the sugar beet industry in Ireland.

Spearheaded by Beet Ethanol Energy Teoranta (BEET) Ireland, the proposed €400 million state of the art facility would represent a massive investment in the county and a potential jobs boost for Portlaoise.

An estimated 500 jobs are planned during construction with 250 staff to run the plant.

A further 2,000 indirect jobs in the service sector are also promised.

The BEET Ireland group, consisting of former sugar beet growers, addressed the Joint Oireachtas committee on Agriculture last week, after which its Chairman, Michael Hoey of Country Crest Foods, indicated to media that a highly suitable site in the midlands had been identified.

The Togher site is believed to meet the criteria in terms of location, services, arable land, as well as local expertise in the industry.

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