Plans have been announced for a new 360MW pumped storage plant at the former Silvermines mining site in north Tipperary, Ireland.
To be developed by Strabag Group and Andritz Hydro, with Irish construction company Roadbridge and Siga-Hydro, the project would involve a total investment of €650 million in what is one of the largest ever private equity spends in the country.
A planning application is due to be submitted later this year, with the construction phase to take around four to five years if given the go ahead. Around 400 jobs are to be created during construction, with around 50 permanent posts once the plant is running.
Announcing the plans, Alan Kelly, Minister of Environment, Community & Local Government, described the project as Ireland's most efficient electricity generation plant.
"This announcement is a pivotal one for Silvermines, for the wider North Tipperary area and, indeed, the country," he said. "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."
The brownfield nature of the selected site, with one reservoir already in place in the 70m deep open-cast mine, means the Silvermines Hydro Electric Power Station can be developed and constructed with minimum impact. It also has close proximity to the national grid network, with one of its main lines just 800m away.