Plan for €650m Silvermines Investment

Posted by Alan Kelly on January 11, 2016 at 03:09 PM

Silvermines Hydro 035
Silvermines Hydro 035

am delighted to announce plans for Ireland's most efficient electricity generation plant - a 360 megawatt, zero emission pumped storage hydroelectric power plant for the Silvermines.

This announcement is a pivotal one for Silvermines, for the wider North Tipperary area and, indeed, the country. For Silvermines it will transform the environmental mining legacy here from a negative to very muc...h a positive and trigger very significant and sustainable investment in the local community at the same time.

From a wider Tipperary perspective it will generate a huge windfall in the construction phase and, thereafter, ongoing sustainable on-site jobs.

The Silvermines Hydro Electric Power Station Project will be developed from the existing disused open-cast mining site, finally turning a negative environmental mining legacy into a positive, long term one with local and national benefits.

This project, which I have been working on with the developers for some time, will involve a total investment of €650 million in what is one of the largest ever private equity spends in the country. The overall value of benefits flowing into the national economy will exceed €2.5 Billion.

The 4/5 year construction phase alone will sustain 400 jobs, the majority of which will be locally sourced and there will be up to 50 permanent posts at the plant.

From a national perspective, it will significantly advance Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy, with 360MW of electricity generated for this renewable source five hours each day. This will be enough to supply 200,000 homes – more than three times the total number of households in Tipperary.

I have been hugely encouraged by the dynamism and energy of the team led by Darren Quinn. I now look forward to continuing to work closely with Darren and others to help bring the Silvermines Hydro Electric Power Station to fruition and finally turn the negative mining legacy here on its head.

The Silvermines Hydro Electric Power Station will generate electricity during high demand periods as water from a higher elevation reservoir is released to a lower reservoir, flowing through giant turbines in the process. It is then pumped back up to the higher reservoir during low electricity demand periods.

The brown field nature of the selected site, with already one reservoir in place in the 70m deep open-cast mine, means the Silvermines Hydro Electric Power Station can be developed and constructed with minimum impact and provide environmental enhancements, planning gain and community benefits – in addition to zero emission electricity. It also has close proximity to the national grid network, with one of its main lines just 800m away.

The facility will integrate renewable energy into the Irish electricity system, will reduce electricity production costs and play a crucial role in energy system decarbonisation.

Photo: Darren Quinn, Managing Director Siga-Hydro and myself at the site for the Power Plant in the Silvermines

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