The recent passing of Eddie O'Connor, a renewable energy pioneer and entrepreneur, has led to an outpouring of tributes.

Mr O'Connor, who passed away at the age of 76 after a brief illness, began his career as a chemical engineer and initially worked for the ESB. In 1987, he was appointed chief executive of Bord Na Móna.

Eddie had a unique ability to spot opportunities and trends well ahead of others.

In 1992, during his tenure as chief executive of Bord na Móna, he built Ireland's first commercial wind farm in Bellacorick, marking a significant milestone in Ireland's renewable energy development.


In 1997, he founded Airtricity and led the construction of the Arklow Bank offshore wind farm, which remains Ireland's only offshore wind project to date.

After the company was sold to SSE for €1.8bn in 2008, Eddie, a native of Roscommon, established Mainstream Renewable Power.

He recognised the need for advanced grid technology before many others and was the first to advocate for a pan-European electricity supergrid to facilitate the distribution of solar and wind power in a decarbonised European economy.

Deep sadness

Following his passing, Minister Eamon Ryan expressed his deep sadness: "I am truly saddened to learn of Eddie O'Connor's passing. From his time as chief executive of Bord na Móna to his establishment of Airtricity and the subsequent creation of Mainstream Renewable Power and SuperNode, he was always several years ahead of everyone else in his thinking.”

Wind Energy Ireland CEO Noel Cunniffe said: “On behalf of our members and staff, I would like to express our condolences to Eddie O’Connor’s wife, Hildegard, his family and his many colleagues and friends in Ireland and around the world.

“Eddie O’Connor revolutionised how we produce and use energy in this country. Ireland’s wind energy industry was built on the foundations he and others laid in the 1990s and their vision of a cleaner, more prosperous, energy future for all of us,” he said.