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Second wind-farm firm enters land dispute

A dispute between a wind farm company and a farmer, over an agreement about access to his land, has taken a twist, after another wind farm company claimed it also had an agreement with him.

Black Lough Windfarm Ltd has sued John Henry, over what it says is his failure to comply with an agreement to allow it access his land at Bonniconlon, Co Mayo. This is for the purpose of laying cables and ducting, so Black Lough can connect its wind farm at Tawnamore, Co Sligo, to the ESB substation.

Black Lough says it has paid him €16,000, as part of a wayleave agreement allowing it access to 0.3 hectares owned by Mr Henry, who is disputing the claim. Black Lough claims government assistance for its €26m wind farm is being jeopardised by Mr Henry’s position.

It says it wants to avail of a Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment scheme, whereby renewable energy generators are guaranteed a minimum price for electricity fed into the national grid for 15 years. The deadline, under the scheme, for connection to the grid, is December 31 next and the wind turbines must be operational by March 2020. The court was told a firm called Aeolus had also signed an agreement with Mr Henry, in relation to access to the same land. Aeolus has a €50m, 12-turbine farm in Co Mayo and was taken over last year by renewable energy investment company NTR.

Tim O’Sullivan, BL, for Aeolus, said his client wanted to be joined as a co-defendant with Mr Henry, given his client also says it has an easement agreement on the same land. Mr Justice Robert Haughton was told mediation talks were scheduled for this week.