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Small hydro for Ireland

Ten small hydro schemes totalling some 4.42MW are to be built in Ireland as part of a new programme to increase renewable energy use.

The new projects were announced by Joe Jacob, Minister of State at Ireland’s Department of Public Enterprise on 8 April. They are part of a IR£160M programme for a total of 159MW of renewable energy projects due to go on line by 2000. The projects were chosen through the ‘Third alternative energy requirement competition’ and included, in addition to the small hydro projects: nine large wind farms; 8 small wind farms; two waste-to-energy projects; and one landfill gas project.

The small hydro projects were mainly grant aided and were awarded on price grounds. In the event, most of them were won by one company. They were: •Lackagh, Drumleigh, 955kW, operated by Ingleby.

•Devlin, 615kW, operated by Ingleby.

•Owenwee, Dungloe, 440kW, operated by Ingleby.

•Meenachallow, Glenties, 325kW, operated by Ingleby.

•Inchinanagh, Kilgarran, 490kW, operated by Ingleby.

•Barnesmore, Donegal, 485kW, operated by Ingleby.

•Owenaher, Tobercury, 265kW, operated by Ingleby.

•Glenade, Leitrim, 120kW, operated by Leitrim County Council.

•Ballintra, Donegal, 355kW, operated by William Holmes.

•Borlin, Bantry, 370kW, operated by Ingleby.

Ingleby is based in Wales.

The winning projects are not offered any operating subsidy; they are chosen on price (the winning hydro projects offered prices of less than 4p/kWh) and are guaranteed a 15 year power purchase agreement with the the Irish utility ESB. They also win the right to apply for a European Union grant of up to I£65/kW.

Jacob said the awards, ‘Put [Ireland] on track to have 10% of the electricity network based on renewables by the year 2000’.