One landowner in South-East Clare looks set to earn almost €2 million in total from wind farm payments over a 30-year period, if it obtains planning permission, a local lobby group has claimed.
RWE Renewables has published a map with the proposed location of eight wind turbines at Fahy Beg, Fahy More North, Ballymoloney and Ballyknavin in Bridgetown.
The Fahybeg Windfarm Information Group has estimated that one land owner may receive €1.92 million in total during the life time of the proposed 38.5 mega watt wind farm, which will break down to the equivalent of about 4.8 mega watt per turbine.
Interestingly, a Limerick firm of solicitors will accrue the largest payment of an estimated €2.5 million as it is the land owner for two turbines and is listed as part owner of another one with a deceased land owner, who also owned land for a separate turbine before he died.
Two other land owners own land where one turbine is proposed.
All the payments to land owners will be taxable at the current rates depending on their individual incomes.
The Fahybeg Information Group estimates the wind farm will generate in the region of €1.08 million annually for RWE, which will total in excess of €32 million over 30 years.
This is based on the payment of €8 per mega watt hour for electricity 365 days a year with a productivity load factor of 40%.
The group believes that land owners have an option of being paid at a rate of 3% of the overall output per turbine or a set rate of about €2 per mega watt per hour, which works out at about €32,000 per turbine annually, based on similar wind farm projects.
A group spokesman expressed concern that only three landowners who will receive substantially payments will live in the locality.
“There will be only three individuals living in the community who will be changing the landscape for everyone living in the local community,” he said.
One land owner with a proposed turbine confirmed all the land owners have different deals with the company depending on how valuable their land is for the overall project.
“It is a good deal. The production of electricity from renewables is needed. Income from farming is up and down. It is a nice subsidy to get without incurring any major cost.”
He said that additional payments are made if a land owner has a road going through their property, which will be used for the wind farm. The Clare Champion has learned that land owners have been paid to facilitate land surveys for biodiversity and other planning issues.
After a 15 year-period has elapsed, the group stated that the company can go out to the open market and can expect to get a much higher payment per mega watt in view of projections energy prices will have increased a great deal at that stage.
It is expected up to €180,000 will be provided by the company in the community benefit fund for 12 to 15 years, which is the sum recommended by the government, and the company has pledged to contribute €40,000 for the remaining 15 years.
The proposed wind farm is located approximately six kilometres South West of Killaloe and 1.5km North of Bridgetown. The study area comprises lands at Fahy Beg, Fahy More North, Ballymoloney and Ballyknavin townlands and measures approximately 320 hectares.
The majority of the proposed wind farm study area is agricultural and forestry land. These land uses could continue with a wind farm development at the site.
Based on the results of initial investigations it is considered that the proposed wind farm could accommodate up to eight turbines, each could be up to 180 metres tall from the turbine base to the top of the turbine blade, when blades are in an upright position.
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