A multi-million pound wind farm at Pomeroy has just received planning approval to build five massive turbines.
Gaelectric, the Irish renewable energy company, said the 11.5 megawatt (MW) wind farm at Cregganconroe will be able to generate energy equivalent to the average annual electricity consumption of around 6500 homes.
Investment totalling £18m will be pumped in the farm which is just one of a number of projects that Gaelectric is planning for Northern Ireland.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Brendan McGrath, said: ‘We have been working on planning for a range of sites in Tyrone and Antrim for a number of years. The Cregganconroe approval is a further important step for Gaelectric and represents our second planning success in Northern Ireland this year.’
Commenting on the role of the Northern Ireland Executive, Mr. McGrath said: ‘It has been very helpful over the last few years to be able to deal with the Northern Ireland Executive, which was at all times open to the benefits of renewable energy and to finding a solution that would work for the area. We appreciate their support.’
Mr. McGrath said: ‘Gaelectric plans to continue its high level of investment in Northern Ireland over the coming years. To achieve this we need an efficient planning system that has sufficient resources to deal with the current workload. It is critical that Planning Service staff that have now built up a level of hard-learned expertise in this specialist area are not now redeployed in the current NI civil service reorganisation. Policy makers must insure that Renewable Energy, which is an indigenous industry, is properly resourced. Only by investing in this area will its green jobs potential be realised in a timely manner ’.
Gaelectric said it had completed an extensive consultation process updating the local community on the proposal.
The firm says it will be setting up a locally administered community fund totalling £210,000 for community projects. The company said this gesture confirms its commitment to fully engage with the local community.
Gaelectric has also committed to spending up to € 5 million in construction and operation costs with local companies.
Kieran Ruddy, chairman of the local development group The Rowan Tree Centre, said it was a necessary evil. He said it would reduce pollution and use sustainable power, however he added: “More should be done on energy conservation.
“They are ugly and I wouldn’t like to have them on my doorstep but I see them as a necessary evil.”
In a statement, Gaelectric said: “Other benefits of the wind farm include – greenhouse gas emission avoidance, enhancement of security of energy supply, provision of up to 20 construction jobs, with the opportunity for employment in the operation and management of the site, and the provision of an educational resource for local schools. The project is also in line with the aspirations of Northern Ireland energy policy.
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