Former Airtricity boss Eddie O’Connor has suffered a setback in his controversial plan to build 450 wind turbines in the midlands.
His Mainstream Renewable Power company has already paid €1.5m to 500 landowners in seven counties.
However, the company is to delay design work on the project and crucial consultations with residents in the region for nine months so that an overall environmental assessment of the wind farms can be carried out.
At a media briefing in Tullamore this afternoon, Mainstream executives said they were confident that the majority of the proposed wind farms will go ahead after the environmental assessment has been completed.
They said the project would help create 3,000 jobs during construction.
However, the company has accepted that if revised guidelines for turbines extend the setback distance for local residents to 2km as has been sought by opponents to wind farms in the midlands, the turbines would not be feasible and could not go ahead.
Mainstream said it is working on proposals for a comprehensive new tourism attraction to be based on one of the wind farm sites in northern Offaly.
It said it could attract up to 100,000 visitors.
Mainstream’s Andy Kinsella said he accepted that Mr O’Connor may have annoyed residents with comments he made on RTÉ’s Prime Time programme last month.
However, he said Mr O’Connor has since apologised, did not intend to insult people in the region and had a track record of creating jobs.
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