September 15, 2011

Mallow windfarm development moves a step closer

By JOE LEOGUE, 15 September 2011

The development of a proposed windfarm north of Macroom is one step closer, with the company involved now ready to draw down funds to progress the project.

Wind energy company Energia last week announced that it has reached full financial close on the windfarm at Caherdowney, Macroom and described the move as a “significant project milestone” as it moves to become Ireland’s biggest supplier of green energy to business in the Irish market. The group currently has over 300MW of operational windfarms, and a further 540MW in development.

Peter Baillie, Managing Director Energia Renewables said the windfarm is an important step for the company.

“Each new windfarm also moves Ireland a step closer to achieving its target of generating 40% of national supply from renewable sources by 2020,” Mr Baillie said.

He added that the Caherdowney development will be of significant benefit to the local Cork economy.

“The developments bring a number of benefits with them including job creation, increased rates for the local authorities and improvements to local infrastructure such as roads. Developing these projects requires considerable co-operation from a large number of local and national stakeholders and Energia appreciates the cooperation and assistance from all stakeholders involved,” Mr Baillie said.

Such cooperation may not be forthcoming, however, given the recent opposition to a similar windfarm by Enerco Energy Ltd in the Muskerry region.

Paddy Crowley, of Graigue, Inchigeela, is one of many who voiced their opposition to an 11-turbine windfarm at Derrineanig and Cleanrath at a public meeting in the village recently.

Mr Crowley claims that the windfarm industry is ‘the next property bubble,’ with developers of some windfarms looking to eventually sell their schemes to larger electricity supply companies for profit. He also described the turbines as ‘a blight on the landscape.’

“We live in a lovely area, and this development will do nothing for eco-tourism here. We want to development hillwalking and mountain biking in this region, and these windfarms are a blight on landscape,” he said.

Mr Crowley said resistance should not be mistaken for an opposition to renewable energy, but that local people wanted to see the development of a green energy suited to area.

“This development is just over 500 metres from my house and the size of the spire in Dublin. There is no respect for locals in their application,” he said.

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