The Forestry Act 1988 provided for the establishment of Coillte Teoranta as a company to be registered under the Companies Acts. Section 12 of the Forestry Act 1988 provided inter alia that the principal objects of the company shall be stated in its memorandum of association to be:
a) To carry on the business of forestry and related activities on a commercial basis and in accordance with efficient silvicultural activities,
b) To establish and carry on woodland industries,
c) To participate with others in forestry and related activities consistent with its objects, designed to enhance the effective and profitable operation of the company, and
d) To utilise and manage the resources available to it in a manner consistent with the above objects.
The vires of a statutory company, such as Coillte Teoranta, are governed both by its memorandum of association as registered in the Companies Registration Office and by the statute that has required or permitted the registration. As a commercial company, Coillte's remit includes the optimisation of the commercial potential of its assets.
In relation to the investments made to date by Coillte in wind energy, I understand that Coillte has a portfolio of nine “Gate 3” development projects with the potential to generate over 500MW of renewable electricity. I am advised that, in 2013, the company continued to add value to its portfolio of “Gate 3” projects, lodging planning applications in Laois, Tipperary and Mayo respectively and also secured planning consent for a project in Cork.
The company also provided the following summary of its projects:
- Projects with planning consent include a 105MW co-development with SSE Renewables and Finnavera at Cloosh Valley Galway and a 36MW co-development project with ESB Wind Development called Raheenleagh in Co. Wicklow.
- A positive planning decision was issued by Roscommon County Council for Coillte's 58MW Sliabh Bawn project and An Bord Pleanala has granted planning consent for a wind farm development totalling 33 MW at Castlepook in the Ballyhoura Mountains in Co. Cork.
- Other projects with planning include Straness, Co. Donegal (56MW) and Boggeragh, Co. Cork (47MW).
The company advises that it also has a development pipeline beyond Gate 3 of c 1000 MWs.
As regards the amounts paid out by the company to consultants and contractors regarding the various wind energy projects, Coillte advises that the company does not disclose financial details relating to specific contracts, joint venture agreements or investments in wind projects for reasons of commercial sensitivity.