Plans by Cork renewable energy firm, Enerco Energy to progress 400MW of wind energy projects have hit a stumbling block.
This follows strong opposition by west Clare residents to plans by a company associated with Enerco, Slieveacurry Ltd to erect a 175m-high eight turbine wind farm overlooking the Wild Atlantic Way.
The proposed development site is located 5km to the east of Miltown Malbay and 7km to the south of Ennistymon.
Over 100 objections have been lodged and those objecting to the scheme include a number of local Oireachtas politicians: Green Party senator Roisin Garvey, Fianna Fáil senator Timmy Dooley, Sinn Féin TD Violet Anne Wynne, and Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe.
A number of members of Clare County Council have also lodged objections.
Enerco has told Clare Co Council that it and its associated companies have over 640MW of wind-generating capacity in commercial operation and have a further 400MW of projects at various stages in its portfolio to assist in meeting Ireland’s renewable energy targets.
Enerco states that it has projects operating or in construction in counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Galway, Mayo, Donegal and that its Clare scheme will have a combined output of about 33.6MW.
If the west Clare scheme proceeds, Enerco said the community will receive up to €3m during the lifetime of the operation of the wind farm.
Documents lodged with the application state that the community fund “will support and facilitate projects and initiatives including youth, sport and community facilities, schools, educational and training initiatives, and wider amenity, heritage, and environmental projects”.
The firm also states that 70 jobs will be created through the wind farm.
However, Ms Garvey said that new wind farms should not be allowed until new government guidelines on wind energy are published.
“There are a lot of people locally who don’t want it there because they already have enough of wind turbines in the area.”
Ms Garvey added: “I don’t think it is fair to say that Greens are always pushing for wind farms.
“We have always pushed for green energy in the right place.”
She said: “I have never been out demanding wind farms in my life and I don’t intend to start now.
“I am for wind farms if they are in the right place.”
Ms Garvey stated: “Everywhere these wind farms go, they cause division.
“One side of the family getting money and another side of the family not getting anything out of it and that is the family split.”
“Communities need to come together more and more, not be divided.”
In documents lodged with the application, Enerco state that there are 61 occupied dwellings within 1.5km of the proposed turbine locations with 14 of those dwellings belonging to landowners who form part of the proposed development.
The Environmental impact statement stated that the closest third-party dwelling is located about 700m from the nearest proposed turbine location.
A decision is due on the application later this month.
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