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Gaelectric gets green light for €26m wind scheme

Renewable energy firm Gaelectric has secured planning approval for a 15 megawatt (MW) wind farm at Inishative, near Pomeroy, Co Tyrone.

The stg£22million (€26million) scheme will have six wind turbines, with capacity to power some 8,000 homes annually.

Gaelectric secured planning permission for a 15 megawatt wind farm in Carn Hill, Co Antrim, and a 12.5 megawatt development in Cregganconroe, Co Tyrone, earlier this year.

Gaelectric chief executive Brendan McGrath said the company had, so far, secured €50 million in equity investment, and would start to generate revenue in 2011.

Gaelectric has 25 renewable energy projects at different stages of development on the island of Ireland.

McGrath said its first completed wind farm at Roosky, Co Roscommon, would be commissioned early in the new year. ‘‘Weather permitting, we expect the 3 megawatt Roosky farm to be finished by the end of March 2011.

‘‘The 5 megawatt plant at Leabeg, Co Offaly, should be good to go next year,” said McGrath, who added that the construction of a planned stg£62 million (€73.4 million) pipeline, linking five different wind farms, was expected to begin next year.

‘‘We cannot engage in the grid process and agree anything formally with Northern Ireland Energy until we have all the planning in place. The projects are coming out now, but it has been like pulling hen’s teeth. The planning then determines when you can begin construction,” he said.

Last September, Gaelectric raised $18 million in private equity funding to book 960 megawatts of transmission capacity for wind energy developments in Montana in the United States.

It is also pursuing licence applications for compressed air energy-storage sites in Larne, Co Down.