Gaelectric, the Irish renewable energy group, has received planning approval for a 15 Megawatt (MW) wind farm at Inishative, near Pomeroy, in County Tyrone. The wind farm development will consist of six wind turbines with a maximum hub height of 64 metres and a maximum blade diameter of 71 metres, and will be capable of generating enough renewable energy to meet the average annual electricity consumption of approximately 8,000 homes.
Representing an investment of £22 million, the Inishative wind farm development is the latest in a portfolio of renewable energy projects that Gaelectric is progressing in Northern Ireland, which together totals approximately 200 MW of power generation capacity.
Gaelectric secured full planning approval for two further wind energy developments, a 15MW wind farm in Carn Hill, Newtownabbey, County Antrim and a 12.5 MW wind farm in Cregganconroe, Pomeroy, County Tyrone, earlier this year giving the company 42.5 MW of consented projects in Northern Ireland. Construction of this £62 million pipeline will begin in early 2011.
“Government policy needs to give further weight and importance to economic considerations and the opportunities for economic development that wind power developments present. In these straightened times we do not have the luxury of behaving as if we live in an ideal world where every risk and threat can be perfectly balanced. A focused and proactive approach to economic opportunities is needed to steer the economy – North and South – on a sustainable growth path,” comments Brendan McGrath, chief executive of Gaelectric. “We have been progressing a number of wind farm sites in Tyrone and Antrim through the planning approval process for a number of years, which have required us to work closely with the NI Executive and planning authorities in Northern Ireland. These authorities recognise the importance of renewable power generation in a sustainable energy future and we are seeing well-prepared, viable projects successfully securing planning approval.”
Gaelectric completed an extensive consultation programme to update local communities on the Inishative proposal. A locally administered community fund amounting to £250,000 will be set up to support community projects. Gaelectric has also committed to spending up to £4.5million in project costs on construction and operations with local companies.
Gaelectric currently has 25 projects at different stages of development on the island of Ireland. Just over half of these projects are in Northern Ireland.