Locals fear the dismantling of the Derrybrien wind farm has the potential to cause more severe landslides than the chaos which occurred in 2003 during the construction process at the South Galway site.
And that has led Galway County Councillors to call on the government to direct the ESB to recommence operations on the Slieve Aughty Mountains, despite the recent ruling that the turbines be decommissioned.
Last month, An Bord Pleanála refused an application by the ESB for the continued operation of the 70-turbine wind farm which has been plagued by controversy for almost 20 years.
However, county councillors believe that the wind farm still has a major role to play in satisfying the energy requirements of more than 50,000 homes.
Following the Bord Pleanála ruling, the turbines at Derrybrien were switched off and the tendering process for the dismantling of the wind farm commenced.
The local community around Derrybrien believed that the development of the wind turbines had resulted in flood-risk implications for the area and there was now a faster run-off of water from the mountains.
But a motion has now gone to the Department of the Environment stating: “Galway County Council call on the government to direct the ESB to recommence operation of the Derrybrien wind farm and in doing so, provide whatever legislative requirements that are necessary to ensure it may not be legally contested.”
Local Cllr Geraldine Donohue (Ind) said that this source of electricity supply was vital and particularly as talk of offshore wind energy was years away.
And she added that the problems with the site were surmountable and believed that the dismantling of the wind farm at Derrybrien would cause problems in itself – with the further risk of landslides.
“I am receiving numerous calls from constituents who are seeking that the wind turbines in Derrybrien are be turned back on given the energy crisis worldwide,” said Cllr Donohue.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see the April 29 edition of the Connacht Tribune.
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