A wind energy company which was previously part of the proposal to build large-scale wind farms across the midlands to feed into Britain’s electricity grid, is looking at a new project within Westmeath.
Element Power has confirmed to the Westmeath Examiner this week that it is “exploring the possibility” of developing what it terms “an appropriate and suitable wind farm” in the north of Westmeath.
The firm is considering the erection of up to 25 turbines.
“This would be a standalone project based around the bogs in the hinterland of Coole,” a spokesperson for Element Power told the Westmeath Examiner this week.
The project is being considered with a view to supplying electricity within Ireland and not for export.
Says Element: “If a wind farm were to be determined feasible in the area, it would be developed – like existing wind farms already operating across Ireland – for connection to the Irish grid to help Ireland meet its renewable energy targets and obligations under the recent Paris Agreement to combat climate change.”
The firm says that once the current public consultation and feedback on “how the project can be of benefit to the community” have concluded and ongoing surveys as well as a technical appraisal are more advanced, a planning layout will emerge.
“It is not envisaged that this will consist of any more than 25 turbines.”
The firm says it will continue to engage with the local community and will be sharing further information with them via leaflets and a website which will be up live in the near future to provide further project information.
Locally, the news has been met with dismay.
Dermot Murphy, who lives in Coole, said that since October 5, representatives of Element Power have been calling from house to house in Coole handing out leaflets regarding their plans.
“We have had our marches in Mullingar and Dublin, we have made submissions to our councillors and our County Development Plan, and yet Element Power continue to try and overwhelm us,” he said.
Mr Murphy, listing shadow flicker, noise, and impact on the landscape as well as the devaluation of property as among the concerns shared by those opposed to turbines, says that north Westmeath needs to be wary of offers from Element of “community benefit” funding.
“As I have stated previously in your paper, the need for a ‘community benefit’ is proof that these turbines will inflict a corresponding ‘community loss’ and we have too much too lose,” he said, adding that the present residents of Westmeath are the generation charged with defending the county from industrial turbines.
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