Massive €8bn Hudson Clean Energy-backed UK-Ireland wind project moves forward

3,000MW Greenwire development backed by leading clean energy firm

A huge £6.5bn (€8bn) UK-Ireland wind project planned by Hudson Clean Energy Partners’ Element Power is set for initial approval by the countries’ respective governments.

The Greenwire project would see some 700 turbines installed in 40 clusters across five counties in the Irish midlands, with the energy to be transmitted to the UK via two high voltage undersea cables. The project will create 3,000MW of capacity from 2017.

Element Power is owned by New Jersey-based Hudson Clean Energy Partners, the leading clean investment house founded by former Goldman Sachs partner Neil Auerbach.

Investors in Hudson’s funds include major institutions such as Danish labour market pension fund ATP and the New York State Common Retirement Fund. ATP invested $400m with Hudson in 2009, while NY Common has a $100m commitment.Element, which currently has 77MW and 263MW of installed capacity in solar and wind, says the project will contribute to the setting up of an Irish renewables export industry and a £7bn cost saving for the UK.

The BBC reported that UK and Irish ministers would sign a memorandum of understanding today (January 24) after which there will be a further year of review before a treaty is signed.

Element Power Ireland is headed by CEO Tim Cowhig, the former head of wind developer SWS Energy who chaired the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) from 2002 to 2009. SWS was bought by energy supplier Bord Gáis Éireann in 2009.

Hudson’s European head Shaun Kingsbury was last year named chief executive of the UK’s new Green Investment Bank.