THE amount of installed wind capacity installed in Donegal will yield approximately €2.7m to Donegal County Council in rates in 2018, according to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA).
In its submission to the preparation of the Draft Donegal County Development Plan 2018-2024 the IWEA states that Donegal currently has 401MW of installed wind energy capacity, enough to power 250,000 homes.
However, the IWEA has expressed concern that the new County Development Plan is proposing to continue with a ten times tip height setback from residential properties and other centres of human habitation.
“Moves for ten times tip height and other ‘anti-wind’ measures would serve only to negatively impact an industry that Donegal would be hard pressed to replace,” a spokesman for the IWEA told the Donegal News this week.
Mr Adam Ledwith, IWEA Head of Communications and Public Affairs, was responding to an article in last Monday’s edition of the Donegal News in which a homeowner pleaded with the Council to ensure that the ten times tip-height set back distance of turbines from nearby homes is incorporated in the new Draft County Development Plan.
Ms Carol Duddy lives only 500 metres from a wind turbine at the Corkermore site, half way between Ardara and Bruckless, where a rotor blade broke off four years ago.
“Had the ten times tip height been in place when planning was sought for this windfarm, my family may have been spared seven years of hell, a hell with no end in sight to the turmoil and suffering we are going through,” Ms Duddy said.
“We have deep concerns and anxiety over the safety and noise level of the Cokermore wind farm which is built in such close proximity to our homes,” she added.
New guidelines on set-back distances and other issues such as noise and light flicker are due to be incorporated into the County Donegal Draft County Development Plan 2018-2024.
In a submission to the wind energy section of the County Donegal Draft County Development Plan 2018-2024, the IWEA said that it is committed to promoting the use of wind energy in Ireland and beyond as an economically viable and environmentally sound alternative to other forms of non-renewable energy.
‘Real success story’
“There is a real success story for Donegal and the wind industry within he county. At 400MW installed capacity Donegal is contributing an enormous amount to reducing emissions and fossil fuel dependence – something that benefits the whole country,” Mr Ledwith said.
“Such is the success Donegal and the north-west has made of onshore wind over the years with consistent and supportive policy, nationally and locally, it faces the very real possibility of having future projects supplying energy to the national grid that do not require support through the PSO,” he added.
IWEA members are involved in developing more than eight-five per cent of the wind farm capacity that is planned to be built from now to 2020.
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