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Planning application for Castlebanny Wind Farm set to be finalised

The team has developed an online presentation of the project for members of the public to view

Kilkenny People

Reporter:

Kilkenny People

Email:

news@kilkennypeople.ie

KILKENNY

Turbine in forestry

Coillte Renewable Energy and ART Generation are uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of Ireland’s economy as it finalises a planning application for the proposed Castlebanny Wind Farm development.

Coillte, the state-owned commercial forestry company, and local Kilkenny-based wind farm development company ART Generation, are preparing a planning application to submit to An Bórd Pleánala for the proposed Castlebanny Wind Farm in the coming weeks. 

The application follows an extensive year-long community engagement programme in parallel with the design and EIA process, which has actively sought input from the local community, and particularly those living closest to the proposed wind farm site. 

The project’s aim is to develop a renewable energy project responsibly, in a way that will bring benefit locally, regionally and nationally. It is uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of Ireland’s economy and to achieving the goals outlined in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan. The proposed Castlebanny Wind Farm project forms part of that contribution to helping the state and Kilkenny County meet its targets and play its role in promoting and sustaining a cleaner, secure, healthier environment for our children and future generations.

The proposed development is comprised of:

• Up to 21 wind turbines with a proposed hub height of approximately 110 metres and an overall blade tip height of up to 185 metres;

• onsite 110kV substation with a 4 km underground grid connection to the existing 110kV overhead line in the townland of Ballyvool;

• 3 onsite borrow pits to source stone material on-site;

• 1 onsite met mast up to a height of 100m;

• provision of amenity facilities to allow and encourage public access to the site for walking and cycling on site access tracks;

• 2 temporary construction compounds, one of which will be used as a permanent public car park for accessing the proposed amenity facilities after the construction phase.

The project team has adopted a best-in-class and conservative approach to determining a proposed project layout for consideration in the planning submission. The team has also been working with local stakeholders to develop a recreation plan for the site and to create links with nearby amenity and recreation areas. Following the application’s submission to An Bórd Pleánala, the team plan to maintain a strong and constructive working relationship with the local community exploring this further.

Should the project receive planning permission and enter construction, there will be a Community Benefit Fund put in place for the project estimated at approximately €500,000 per annum. This will be divided into two components, a Near Neighbour Fund and a Wider Community Fund to provide direct project funding to those areas surrounding the project.

The project will also actively explore the potential for direct community investment for those seeking to financially invest and participate in the wind farm when clear guidance is provided by DCCAE. During the construction phase, up to 100 people will be directly employed by the project drawing upon service providers based locally and regionally.

This project has the potential to generate approximately 120 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity capable of powering approximately 70,000 Irish homes and would make a substantial contribution towards Ireland’s stated goal of producing 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. This represents CO2 savings equivalent to taking approximately 50,000 cars off the road.

As the normal project open event is not possible under the current Covid-19 restrictions, the team has developed an online presentation of the project for members of the public to view. This presentation can be accessed from the project website (www.castlebannywindfarm.ie).

The full planning application will be available to view online on a dedicated website (www.castlebannyplanning.ie) once the final submission has been made to An Bórd Pleánala.