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Huge windfarm project planned for Cork and Kerry

An ESB subsidiary has lodged an application for a windfarm spanning more than 30 townlands across Cork and Kerry.

The application, by ESB Wind Development Ltd, for Grousemount Windfarm with a rating of more than 50MW has been lodged directly with An Bord Pleanála as a strategic infrastructure development.

The site area is 1,465 hectares of privately owned land, being leased by the ESB.

Letters of consent from 28 landowners, including state body Coillte, are included in planning documents.

The proposed windfarm comprises 38 turbines with a hub height of up to 80m, each with a 2.5MW to 3.5MW rating, on foundations and standings. The turbines will have a rotor diameter of up to 112m. The overall height of the structures will be up to 126m.

However, according to the application the turbines will be largely hidden from public view.

“With few exceptions, the site, east of Kilgarvan and west of Ballyvourney is not visible,” the ESB subsidiary submits. In all, 28km of mainly trackway will have to be laid.

The application represents a revision and an amalgamation of two previous planning applications granted permission, one in 2010 and a second in 2012. The same number of turbines are involved but there are differences in output.

Roads and tracks linking the consented windfarms are included in the application. The farm will span the N22 at Ballyvourney and the construction of a temporary bridge, crossing the Sullane River at Ballyvourney, is being sought.

A fee of €100,000 has been lodged. Permission is being sought for 10 years and the windfarm would have a lifespan of 25 years.

Public information days have already been held in Kilgarvan.

The townlands include those of Sillerthane near Kilgarvan, the Gaeltacht area of Coolea, Gortnatubrid on the Cork side along with Barnastooka and Clonkeen in Co Kerry.

Some 17 prescribed bodies have been notified, including local authorities in Cork and Kerry.

Ireland has one of the best wind resources in the world, the ESB says in an environmental impact study accompanying the application and, at the end of 2014, 2,200MW of wind energy had been connected to the network, but this was less than half the current national target.

Submissions on the application can be made up to An Bord Pleanála, up to November 2, with a decision expected by March 15.