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Bord na Móna gears up for €100m wind farm

Bord na Móna has moved swiftly to start development of a controversial €100m wind farm in Co Longford that was approved during the summer by An Bord Pleanála, despite the planning watchdog’s own inspector advising that the plan should be rejected.

An Bord na Móna is now scouting for potential developers that would qualify for the project installation in advance of a full tender process.

The Derryadd wind farm near Lanesborough will comprise 24 turbines with the potential to generate up to 96MW of electricity. The maximum height of the turbines to the tip of their blades will be 185 metres, or 607 feet. Bord na Móna hopes the wind farm will be in operation by the final quarter of 2023.

In 2019, An Bord Pleanála senior planning inspector John Desmond recommended that the wind farm project be rejected, saying that it would be contrary to the Government’s Climate Action Plan and to the National Peatland Strategy.

He said that the project, taken cumulatively with similar development on industrially extracted peatlands in the future, would prevent Ireland from meeting its obligatory greenhouse gas reduction target to 2030 under EU rules.

Mr Desmond said the Derryadd scheme “would set an undesirable precedent for similar unsustainable development going forward”.

A number of concerns were then raised with Bord na Móna regarding the project and a request made for further information.

Senior planning inspector Karla McBride told An Bord Pleanála early this year that the semi-State firm had provided a “robust response” to the request for further information. The project was approved by the board in May.

Bord na Móna is strategically shifting from its traditional peat-based business to a green strategy.

This week, two of its wind farm projects – in Co Offaly and Co Mayo – secured a total of 158MW of capacity on the Government’s recent Renewable Electricity Support Scheme auction.