Friday, 25 February 2011

Great Renewable Energy News for NI

Great jobs and renewable energy investment announcement

Gaelectric secures planning approval for 42 MW wind farm at Dunbeg, Co. Derry

Dunbeg wind farm will represent a total investment of €68 million and will generate sufficient renewable power to meet the electricity demand of 24,000 homes

Gaelectric also announces financial close on 4.6 MW Skrine wind farm, Co. Roscommon with Triodos Bank

Thursday, 24 February, 2011 – The Irish renewable energy group, Gaelectric, has secured full planning approval for a 42 MW wind farm at Dunbeg, Co. Derry. Dunbeg will be one of the most significant wind farm developments on the island of Ireland and will generate sufficient renewable power to meet the electricity demand of 24,000homes. The total investment at Dunbeg will amount to €68 million (Stg£58 million).

The development will consist of 14 wind turbines with a maximum hub height of 80 metres and a maximum blade diameter of 90 metres.

Commenting on the Dunbeg planning approval, Gaelectric Chief Executive Brendan McGrath, said:

“This is a very significant milestone for our business and greatly strengthens Gaelectric’s platform in the energy market. We have now secured planning approval for over 80MW of wind energy developments in Northern Ireland. The Dunbeg site is a world-class energy resource and accounts for over half of this generation capacity.”

Within the last 12 Months, Gaelectric has secured full planning approval for its Northern Ireland wind farm developments at Carn Hill, Co. Antrim (15 MW), Cregganconroe, Co. Tyrone (12.5 MW) and Inishative, Co. Tyrone (15 MW). In total, Gaelectric is currently progressing 200 MW of wind energy projects on the island of Ireland.

Mr. McGrath acknowledged the commitment and support of the Northern Ireland Executive to a sustainable energy future on the island of Ireland. He said:

“Our Northern Ireland projects will be invaluable in securing a sustainable energy future on the island of Ireland. The role of the NI Environment Minister, Mr. Edwin Poots, has been particularly important in ensuring that development policy allows renewable energy projects to be progressed while ensuring effective planning controls and protection of the natural environment.”

Environment Minister Edwin Poots said: Reaching the 40% renewable energy target by 2020 is not just a desire for the Northern Ireland Executive, it is an imperative. The Dunbeg proposal will assist us in achieving this. It is also an important planning decision given the site sensitivities and will set a precedent for future applicaions in the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty."

The Dunbeg site is located near the A37 midway between Limavady and Coleraine, and within the Binevenagh AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Planning approval follows Gaelectric’s successful appeal to the Northern Ireland Planning Appeals Commission which overturned an earlier decision of the Northern Ireland Planning Service to refuse approval. Approval has also co-incided with a planning policy decision that an AONB designation should not of itself present a barrier to the sustainable development of renewable energy projects.

Making the Dunbeg announcement, Gaelectric Operations Director, Mike Denny, said:

“Dunbeg will not only provide a significant boost to Northern Ireland’s renewable energy capacity, it will also generate jobs, support increased workforce skills and provide economic activity to the area.”

He said: “Gaelectric has completed an extensive consultation programme to update local communities on the Dunbeg project and a locally administered community fund will be established to support community projects in the area.”

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