A wind energy development co-operative in County Clare has received planning permission from Clare County Council to construct the largest community owned wind farm development in Ireland.
West Clare Renewable Energy (WCRE) plans to construct 28 3MW wind turbines on the western slopes of Mount Callan, a 391-metre high mountain located between Ennis and Miltown Malbay. The company says the Eur200 million project will be capable of generating enough electricity to power every home and business in County Clare, as well as meeting the Limerick Clare Energy Agency’s 2010 targets for emissions reductions and renewable energy production.
The Scheme is predicted to reduce carbon emissions over its life time by 4,400,000 tonnes of carbon. The community-based scheme is also expected to provide up to 300 jobs during the construction phase.
WCRE consists of renewable energy firm West Clare Renewables and 30 farm families who collectively own 3,000 acres of primarily upland properties on Mount Callan. The landowners have a majority shareholding in the company and have also included a significant community fund aspect to the project.
WCRE chairman and Clare-based entrepreneur Padraig Howard points out that Clare is the only county on the Western seaboard of Ireland with the existing electricity grid infrastructure to accommodate the additional renewable energy power. “Mount Callan offered the perfect combination of wind resource, transmission lines and available land for wind farms”, he says. “Mount Callan has long been associated with energy production and for decades supplied peat to power stations in the region. In more recent times large scale commercial forestry had become the energy crop of choice on the mountain.”