Cork County Council has granted planning permission to four pharmaceutical companies to install five wind turbines in Ringaskiddy and one in Carrigaline. Together the Companies (who employ over 4000 people in Cork between them) hope to reduce their energy bills as a means of ensuring the competitiveness of their Irish operations. The project is seen as a demonstration of the feasibility of medium scale wind energy projects as a means of supporting Irish-based industry, job retention and creation.
The development of the six 3MW turbines means that the multinationals involved, Janssen Biologics, DePuy, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, will reduce their energy costs substantially while at the same time cutting carbon emissions by 22,000 tonnes per year.
Pat Gill Spirit of Ireland Foundation Ltd welcomed the development.
“I have spoken about Irish companies generating their own electricity from renewables and the competitive advantage they receive from doing so. But now the big FDI companies are joining in.
“our renewable energy resources are now another reason for FDI and Irish business to be competitive and these companies can now not only forecast what one of their major costs will be for the next twenty years, they now control those costs. There are obvious lessons here for existing Irish companies.”
He added that the project also pointed a way for Irish companies and communities which could make jobs and financial gains through renewable energy production.
“… this is even better news for Irish communities who want to attract additional jobs to their area by giving new companies, foreign or local, access to cheaper, secure energy through locally owned renewable energy generators.”
Andrew Witty of pharmaceutical multinational GSK has previously stated that said that Ireland has returned to cost competitiveness in manufacturing with competitors for FDI such as India. However, high energy costs are a threat to this development. He has cited a recent 30% increase in energy prices to industry and predicted that were this trend to continue multinational manufacturers would again turn away from Ireland. The new wind farm will reduce these energy costs and maintain the companies’ competiveness.