Backers of a massive new windfarm project planned for a remote area just inside the Kerry border have sent information leaflets to community groups in the Múscraí Gaeltacht to outline their proposals.
The windfarm at Cummeennabuddoge (Coimín na Bodóige) is to be located on a large site of 890 hectares 5km north west of the Gaeltacht village of Baile Mhúirne, according to the information leaflet issued by backers Coillte and SSE Renewables.
The windfarm will comprise of 19 turbines and is one of three similar proposals being earmarked for the area by the project proposers at present. The three wind farms combined would comprise of 40 turbines and the backers have yet to give any indication of the proposed height of the turbines.
A submission relating to a 15 turbine development at Gortyrahilly, between Cúil Aodha and Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh, is being prepared for consideration by An Bórd Pleanála.
The original proposal had been for 12 turbines but negotiations with landowners led to the project being increased to a fifteen turbine project.
This means that both the Gortyrahilly/Gort Uí Rathaille and Cummennabuddoge applications will be regarded as strategic infrastructural development and, consequentially, the bids will be assessed by An Bórd Pleanála rather than the relevant local authorities, Cork County Council in relation to Gortyrahilly and Kerry County Council regarding the Cummeennabuddoge site.
A spokesperson for the three projects could not give a definite tip height for the wind turbines being planned but said that wind turbines with a tip height of 185 metres were being considered.
If these were to be approved by An Bórd Pleanála or Cork County Council, they would be the highest in the area.
An application for a wind farm with turbines with a tip height of 187.5m near Gougane Barra was refused last year by An Bórd Pleanála.
To give an idea of the scale of 185 metres, they would dwarf what was Ireland’s tallest building, Cork County Hall, which is 67 metres tall.
Coillte and SSE Renewables are already backing a third windfarm project comprising six turbines to be located in Inchamore/Inse Mór near Cúil Aodha.
These three windfarm projects taken together comprise 40 wind turbines, two more than the 38 turbine wind farm at Grousemount near the Top of Coom which is the country’s second largest wind farm.
The work of building that windfarm led to the digging up of the Cúil Aodha/Baile Mhúirne road to facilitate the laying of cable from Grousemount to Baile Mhúirne.
At one stage there were up to four sets of traffic lights on the 4 mile stretch of road, leading to frustrating delays for road users including parents bringing their children to school.
The road has only lately been restored to road worthiness. The possibility that the days of digging and delays will be back will not go down well with locals.
“While this project is at an early stage of development, we believe in communicating with our neighbours right from the beginning,” it is stated in the information leaflet.
“Our aim is to develop responsible projects in a way that is good for us, for society and for our neighbours.”
“In line with the Government’s Climate Action Plan (2019), Coillte is working towards its stated ambition of developing a further gigawatt of renewable energy over the next 10 years, driving Ireland’s target tom achieve 70% of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030.”
According to the information leaflet, the Cummeennabudoge Development would “generate enough clean electricity to power approximately 83,000 homes, saving 128,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum”.
Earlier this year Kerry County Council granted planning permission for the erection of a 100m high meteorological mast which was installed on site in June.
A met mast measures and logs wind speeds, wind characteristics and wind direction at a range of heights over a period of time to assess the suitability of the site for a wind farm.
Environmental and engineering consultant ATMOS has been appointed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to determine the suitability of the site and inform the design of a proposed wind farm in this area.
Liaison with Kerry County Council and An Bórd Pleanála is due to begin shortly and it’s proposed to be in a position to submit a planning application by April of next year.
Further leaflets about the buildable area and the design layout will be published in October and December respectively while a detailed project brochure and virtual platform is scheduled for February.
A detailed project brochure and virtual platform in respect of the Gortyrahilly windfarm proposal was to be published this month but now is expected in September, a spokesperson confirmed.
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