Ministerial Consent – Project Pearl / FuturEnergy Ireland (Coillte / ESB Joint Venture)

AIE request 23 144

Request for access to information held by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine relating to the provision of, by email, a copy of the consent from DAFM to Coillte in relation to Project Pearl i.e the establishment of FuturEnergy Ireland, as noted in the Briefing for Minister Hackett for the meeting with Coillte on 13 January 2022


M/20/005 – ESB/COILLTE (JV)

Following implementation of the Proposed Transaction, Coillte will continue to supply land to third party developers of onshore wind farms in the State

Coillte’s current share in this potential market is minimal (approximately [0-5]%), resulting from a […]% shareholding in a single wind farm located in Sliabh Bawn, Co. Roscommon

Coillte estimates that it has the largest share of Theoretically Suitable Land in the State (approximately [25-30]%). Coillte estimates that Bord na Móna holds the second largest share of Theoretically Suitable Land in the State (approximately [5-
10]%) with the remaining [65-70]% held by various individual landholders across the State

It sees our entire renewable energy business transfer into the new joint venture company, which aims to deliver 1GW of renewable energy projects by 2030.

Coillte’s portfolio of proposed wind farm projects and its Renewable Energy division has now transferred to FuturEnergy Ireland. The majority of projects in the pipeline are either preparing to enter the planning system or are in the planning process awaiting adjudication.

The new company is led by CEO Peter Lynch, former managing director of Coillte’s Renewable Energy Division.


Raheenleagh Power Designated Activity Company (DAC)

Source: Right to Know Newsletter

This was a joint venture between the ESB and Coillte to develop a wind farm in Co Wicklow though the ownership structure has since changed.

The case centres on whether Raheenleagh DAC is a “public authority” for the purposes of the Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) Regulations.

In the original decision, the Commissioner for Environmental Information decided it was not and so did not have to deal with our request for records.

RTK appealed that to the High Court and in his decision, Justice Alexander Owens ruled in their favour, saying it was a public authority.

However, that was not the end of the matter and the case was back before the Court of Appeal mid-January with ESB still disputing that Raheenleagh DAC was a “public authority”.

Gavin Sheridan runs through some of the background to the case in this Twitter thread.

The case largely boils down to the definition of “public authority” and whether Raheenleagh DAC meets the criteria as set out in the Regulations.

It has wider implications of course with these types of joint ventures and designated activity companies becoming increasingly common with local authorities and commercial semi-states.

It raises significant questions over the reach of AIE, and indeed FOI, if public bodies can simply set up a spinoff operation and put them beyond the reach of information access laws.

Linear Alkyl-Benzenes (LAB) in the Grand Canal Basin

New protocol in place for the ESB Networks to notify LAs of any leaks from fluid-filled underground electricity cables going forward.

40L leak threshold for investigation based on UK best practice

ESBI data (assessments) publicly available

Risks associated with hydraulic locks in the Shannon-Erne waterway are being assessed

Remediation may be the conclusion of the assessments following site investigations

NAECG Meeting Minutes, 26/02/2021

Shannon Hydrometric Information

Daily hydrometric information that has been recorded by ESB for the Shannon Scheme as well as a 5 day hydrometric forecast

Shannon hydrometric forecast

Levels in Metres above Poolbeg ordnance datum for the following locations along the Shannon

Total flow in cubic metres per second for the following locations