The board said the 125,000 acres of bogland that are now being used to provide energy peat to three powerstations will transition to new uses by 2030, by which time the company will no longer harvest energy peat and will have completed its move to new sustainable businesses, including horticulture and eco-tourism, across its bogs and landholding.
The move will involve the rehabilitation of tens of thousands of acres of Irish bogs providing new biodiverse habitats that can also support new eco-tourism and community amenity resources.
The announcement came at the launch of Bord na Móna’s Sustainability 2030 Report. Chief executive Mike Quinn said: "Bord na Móna has a mandate from the Irish people to develop the natural resources located on these bogs for the benefit of the Irish people. That mandate means our business was, is and will remain rooted in the bogs of Ireland.
"For the last eight decades we have underpinned Ireland’s energy security by supplying peat from Irish bogs to powerstations. By 2030 we will cease harvesting energy peat but we will be making sure those 125,000 acres do more. We will use the land to continue to underpin Ireland’s energy independence only now we will be using green sustainable energy sources such as wind, biomass and solar power.
"We will utilise the land to continue to supply domestic heating products using more biomass and low carbon raw materials. We will use it to expand both our horticulture and resource recovery businesses. Vitally, we are projecting that we will continue to be a major employer in the region for generations to come.
"Very excitingly, as we manage the energy peat transition our ecologists will ramp up the mammoth task of rehabilitating tens of thousands of acres of bogs. This will see a huge increase in the biodiversity across the Midlands as native plant, animal and insect species colonise these vast rich new habitats."