WIND

Eddie O’Connor’s Supergrid Ambitions

ADAM BARBER

July 6, 2012

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Eddie O’Connor’s ambitions for a European supergrid may be creeping further to fruition following plans by his company, Mainstream Renewable Power, to develop 5GW of onshore wind capacity in Ireland for the UK grid.

The project would not be in any way connected to the Irish national grid, but instead provide all of its power to the UK through a new interconnector to the UK mainland.

It’s an interesting project, and one that proves that certain developers are starting to think more about international power exports.

And it also raises some questions as to the future development of the grid. Will the largest leaps in the technology instead be made by private developers looking to bring on board wind projects from other locations?

Given the current problems experienced in Germany with grid connections, and the slow development of the OFTO regime in the UK, there is certainly a case for developers to look at their own connections.

Financing projects like this, though, will be tricky.

According to reports in The Irish Times, Eddie O’Connor names China as a potential source of future investment.

Attracting either Chinese manufactures to come on board as equity partners, or securing the interest of Chinese and other Asian sovereign wealth funds would be a coup for such an ambitious project.

If he manages it, Eddie O’Connor will achieve a significant new revenue stream for Ireland, enabling it to capitalise on a new source of export revenue and provide an additional lifeline for the hard-hit Irish economy.

And at the very least it should provide an interesting benchmark for future ambitions for a transnational green energy grid.

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