Bord na Móna will consider a commercial windfarm on their cutaway bog near Portarlington, if a proposed massive reservoir is not built.
Speaking at the windswept 1,500 acre cutaway bog at Garryhinch lastThursday, Pat Downes, Corporate Affairs Director with Bord na Móna, was asked by the Leinster Express if t the land could be used for wind turbines,
“If the water project did not go ahead, there is a possibility to use it in other ways,” he said.
Bord na Móna are planning to erect several wind turbines to power the facility.
Garryhinch Eco Park is plannedas a massive reservoir built in the cutaway bog, which would operate for as long as a century.
The ambitious plan would take 0.02 percent of water from the Shannon, in 5 foot diameter pipes across the midlands, treat and store it as a backup water supply to greater Dublin and the midlands, ending water shortages.
However the plans have been set back another three years, and will not come to fruition until 2023, if at all.
Speaking during a visit requested by Mountmellick town council, Mr Downes said there were no guarantees, with ten site options originally considered.
“All I can say is I know there will be water coming from the Shannon to supply Dublin. At this stage I cannot guarantee what option will be taken up but we have put a very strong case,” he said.
At full capacity, it will cost €15 million a year to run. They are to seek half a billion euros in funding from the European Investment Bank, with informal talks already having taken place.
“We spoke to them initially, and they have given positive vibes, this is the type of project they will fund,” said Mr Downes.
The project is being promoted as an outdoor leisure and recreation facility, which would bring 1,000 construction jobs, 100 maintenance jobs, and many more promised in associated tourism and business, ideal for non motorised water sports and fishing.
Planning is expected to be applied for in three years, with another year allowed for approval and three years to construct, the reservoir may be complete in seven to nine years.
Labour Cllr Lisa Delaney said it would equally benefit the economies of Portarlington and Mountmellick.
“Everybody has the same aim in both towns. Together with the planned Slieve Bloom cycle track, there is massive tourism potential here,” she said.
Mountmellick Tidy Towns chairperson Maura Reddin is urging groups to submit proposals at the planning stage.
“We need to bring everyone together, and have suggestions ready for the public consultation period,” she said.