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Power struggle: Council queries Facebook’s plans for Kilkenny wind farm

Global tech giant Facebook’s plans to use a Kilkenny wind farm to offset its Irish operation’s power usage may have hit a snag after the local authority sought confirmation on the amount of energy that will be created.

Earlier this year it emerged that Facebook has chosen a site at the former Lisheen Mines near Urlingford as the location that would power its operations in Ireland.

The social media giant agreed a deal with Brookfield Renewable Partners to buy the energy produced by the Lisheen III wind farm, which was expected to be completed within two years.

Kilkenny County Council reached out to the developers of the site, who had asked to increase the power created at the site, seeking assurances that each of the eight turbines on the Lisheen III would not exceed 3MW of power in a calendar year, or the whole site will not exceed 24MW per year.

They also asked the developers to identify all the Kilkenny landowners within the site and to provide letters of consent from the landowners to their proposed changes which would see the turbines increase in size from 113mt to 136mt.

In a comprehensive 160 page response to the council, Brookfield Renewable Partners confirmed the output of the individual turbines will be 3.6MW and 28.8MW for the whole Kilkenny site, but also the reason behind the increase and the necessity for this increase.

Facebook moved to purchase the energy created by the wind farm as part of its green policy whereby they were attempting to the powered wholly by green energy by the end of this year.

The Lisheen III windfarm will be capable of producing enough energy to power 20,000 homes.

Kilkenny County Council is expected to make its decision over the coming week.