A Dutch company which is pioneering new technology in the area of power creation is planning on conducting trials in Mayo, after chancing upon the county when they attended the ‘Data and Drones’ conference in Westport several years ago.
Ampyx Power are developing what they term ‘an innovative type of a second generation wind turbine that significantly reduces the material used and cost of wind energy’. They hope to test their product off the Mayo coast.
Speaking at a meeting of the Strategic Policy Committee for Enterprise and Investment of Mayo County Council in Castlebar last week, Mr Pat McHale outlined to members that this is a ‘new and innovative’ pilot scheme where the idea is to have a wind farm at sea based on a type of kite tethered to a base unit, which generates power through the simple process of being in flight, as it moves in and out in the air.
He said that the technology is not traditional in terms of wind farms and that it has very minor visual impact. The location where the trial will take place is known, but he did not reveal it. He added that each of the units could have the capacity to generate enough power for 250 houses, but that the trial would set out to test this theory.
John Magee, recently announced as the permanent Head of Enterprise at Mayo County Council and the Local Enterprise Office, outlined that the local authority have undertaken a lot of work to position Mayo as a county for just these type of initiatives.
“Other local authorities are not doing this, we need to continue to be as open as we can and we need to continue to speculate to accumulate,” he said.
Mr McHale also revealed that there has been a lot of interest in the old Asahi site in Killala as a location for data centres. Power and connectivity are the crucial components for such developments he stated, and the site at Killala has both, with two 110KV power lines servicing it. He added that the landfall nearby of the AE Connect Trans Atlantic Fibre Optic Cable was a game changer, in that it is the most advanced transatlantic cable system in the world, with enormous capacity in terms of data, and therefore massive potential for the area. The locating by Apple of an €850 million data centre in Athenry was also a significant development for the concept of data centres on the west coast he added, and it is not unrealistic to seek a data centre development for Killala.
Mentioning the now stalled Mayo Power project, he said there remained the potential that the project could be completed.
During the discussion, questions were asked about the old Volex plant in Castlebar, which is in the ownership of Mayo County Council, but was due to be sold by now. Councillor Michael Kilcoyne asked if it could be utilised for a data centre or similar project.
Joanne Grehan, Director of Services with the council, said that it was reaching a critical point in relation to the Volex building and decisions will have to be made by a certain date. She added that the council have a host of buildings in their ownership that can be looked at and that they want to continue to invest in the emerging areas of new technology and data centres.
Source: Mayo News