Ireland plans for €650m hydro-electric plant at disused Tipperary mine revealed

Ireland has reportedly unveiled plans to develop a €650m pumped-storage hydroelectric project at a mining site in Tipperary, which is expected to produce 360MW of power for the country.

The Silvermines pumped-storage hydroelectric plant will be built at the abandoned Tipperary open-cast mining site in central parts of the country, which has not been used for more than 20 years.

Plans for the project were announced by Ireland Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and has been developed over the last six years.

It is expected to be constructed by a joint venture between Strabag, Andritz Hydro and Roadbridge.

The project intends to use wind energy for pumping water to a reservoir at night. During the day, the stored water will be released to generate clean hydropower at the site.

The facility is expected to meet the energy demands of around 200,000 Irish homes, when operational.

The project is subject to planning permission, application for which is expected to be filed later this year after feasibility and consultation programme is completed.

Kelly was quoted by news sources as saying: “For Silvermines, it will transform the mining legacy here from an environmentally hazardous to a positive one, as well as trigger very significant and sustainable investment and employment in the local community.

“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.”