Cloncreen windfarm pictured in 2022

Bord na Móna reports record operating profit

Bord na Móna has reported a record operating profit of €95.2 million for the financial year 2023

The strong financial results are the outcome of a record performance across most areas of the business but driven particularly by Bord na Móna’s renewable energy portfolio which grew by 35% in the financial year versus the previous year – including Cloncreen in Offaly and Oweninny Wind Farms which collectively delivered an additional 175 megawatts of electricity in the past 12 months.

The company’s €95.2 million operating profit marks an increase on the 2022 financial year figure of €78.9 million.

In recognition of the extraordinary energy market conditions which prevailed Bord na Móna has declared a one-off enhanced dividend of €37.8 million - representing 37.5% of adjusted profit after tax.

Wind energy milestones included the construction of Cloncreen and Oweninny Wind Farms, and commencement of work at Derrinlough Wind Farm, representing an overall investment of €250 million. Bord na Móna also launched a joint venture with Ocean Winds to develop its first offshore wind farms around the coast of Ireland. The joint venture aims to generate up to 2.3 gigawatts of renewable electricity to power up to 2.1 million homes.

Bord na Móna contributed €930,000 in local community scheme funding, bringing the total support provided over the past six years to over €4.45 million.

Bord na Móna has also advanced its hydrogen-ready and solar operations this year. The company has secured planning permission to launch a 2MW pilot-scale hydrogen electrolysis plant at Mount Lucas. This will generate over 200,000kg of green hydrogen every year once fully operational, it says.

The energy produced will support the decarbonisation of certain parts of the national transport sector. Additionally, the company commenced construction of a new solar farm at Timahoe North in Co. Kildare as part of a wider solar energy joint venture with ESB. Timahoe North solar farm will produce 108MWp of renewable energy to the national grid, and enough energy to power around 25,000 homes once it’s operational by the end of 2024.

Some 5,500 hectares of natural peatlands were restored by Bord na Móna in the past 12 months, and 14,000 ha have been restored since its rehabilitation activity began. The company said it is committing to the restoration of 33,000 ha of peatlands in total over a five-year period. This is part of Bord na Móna’s Peatland Climate Action Scheme (PCAS), one of the largest peatland rehabilitation programmes undertaken in Europe. The scheme will result in the capture of approximately 100 million tonnes of carbon, sequestering millions more in the future, and supporting the restoration of natural habitats for plants and wildlife.

Bord na Móna also said the closure of its last remaining briquette factory in June, at Derrinlough in Offaly, "represents the final stage of the company’s transition to a fully focused climate solutions and renewable energy company".

Commenting on the company’s financial performance, Chief Executive Tom Donnellan said: “The financial performance achieved by Bord na Móna over the past 12 months places the company in a strong position to invest further in the expansion of our renewable energy and climate solutions portfolio. Our year-on-year growth also establishes a solid financial platform for the company to deliver on our 10-year plan and support the state in achieving its renewable energy requirements by 2030 and longer-term objective of carbon neutrality by 2050.

"We are conscious of our responsibility to contribute to the Exchequer and are pleased to provide an enhanced dividend of €37.8 million for the upcoming financial year as a result of our performance over the past 12 months.

"Since 2022, we have achieved a significant number of milestones and firsts as a renewable energy business – including: increasing our energy capacity by 35%; commencing construction of our first ever solar farm; and securing planning permission for the country’s first green hydrogen plant. It is encouraging and exciting for us as a business to see more and more projects that we are investing in come to fruition and form part of our widening climate solutions and green energy offering. We hope to continue building this offering further over the coming 12 months and beyond, supporting our wider ambitions to deliver a secure and consistent supply of green and affordable energy for people across the country.”