Land on the hills overlooking Limerick have received a special planning designation in a move which could pave the way for dozens of wind turbines.
Clare County Council has earmarked an area stretching from Cratloe on the western slopes of Gallows Hill across to Ardnacrusha in the east as being either strategic areas for large scale wind turbines, or at least open to consideration for these structures.
Already, one firm is planning to construct up to 12 turbines – which is visible from the city, with an estimated 1,000 homes set to be impacted.
But locals have said the designation could bring many more in the future.
A spokesperson for the local authority in Clare said it’s acting in response to the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 “which requires a transition to a climate resilient and climate neutral economy by 2050.”
Asked about plans for wind turbines on the hills, they said: “Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration site specific conditions – environmental issues, noise, shadow flicker, visual impact, landscape capacity, road networks etc. In addition, the Wind Energy Strategy sets out guidelines for developments based on the assigned designations relative to their assigned landscape designations.”
Sue Byrne of Adare-based firm Ballycar Green Energy, confirmed it’s planning to submit an application to build on the hills by the end of this year – and there are hopes of turbines in the skies by 2025.
“We are at the pre-planning stage. A number of surveys are being carried out in the area. That will determine the siting of the turbines and the site layout,” she said.
The need for green energy has become very topical, amid fears Russia could cut off the western supply of oil amid sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.
“We’ve known for a long time that an energy crisis is just around the corner. We are finding out the hard way at the moment. For as long as I’m in environmental science, we are being told we are 80% reliant on imported fuel. We have a huge resource here in Ireland with wind, and it’s one of the ways we can look towards energy security in the future and reduce the reliance on foreign imported fuels,” she said.
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