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Coillte to develop one of State’s largest wind projects in Galway

Forestry company Coillte has concluded an agreement for the development of one of Ireland’s largest wind projects in Co Galway.

The project, which is located on Coillte-owned lands in Cloosh Valley near Moycullen, will see Scottish and Southern Energy take a 45 per cent stake along with State-owned Coillte, while Canadian firm Finavera Renewables will retain the remaining 10 per cent share. Exactly how much the project will cost to develop is not known, but it could reach between €150 million and €200 million.

The first phase of the project includes 22 turbines that will generate about 50MW.

The entire project will have a total capacity of 105MW once it is completed, which will meet the electricity needs of more than 60,000 homes.

Coillte chief executive David Gunning said the company’s position as the State’s largest landowner meant it had an extensive range of sites that were suitable for wind farms.

“We identified the potential of the Cloosh Valley site as part of our long-term strategy to manage our assets in a sustainable way and to deliver on key national policy objectives,” he said.

The Cloosh Valley wind farm has been in development for some time, with Coillte entering into partnership with Finavera in early 2009. Coillte has a number of wind farms already situated on its land, with more than 400 MW of Gate 2 and 3 projects across the country. The company says about 20 per cent of installed wind energy generation capacity is situated on its land owned or areas formerly owned by Coillte.

“This year alone, we have six more wind farm projects in the pipeline for planning with a potential 250MW and anticipate continuing to make a significant contribution to meeting Ireland’s renewable energy targets,” Mr Gunning said.

The Cloosh Valley wind project has received a Gate 3 grid connection offer from Eirgrid, which controls the National Grid.