A long-term strategy that seeks to harness County Clare’s off-shore wind, wave, hydro and biomass resources is expected to be finalised within twelve months, Clare County Council has announced.

In inviting submissions from the public and other stakeholders on issues to be addressed in the Clare Renewable Energy Strategy, Clare County Council this week became the first local authority in the country to seek to incorporate such a strategy into their County Development Plan.

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Submissions are being invited up to Friday 9th March after which a Draft Renewable Energy Strategy will be produced and finalised. A process involving a variation of the Clare County Development Plan 2011-2017 to incorporate the Strategy will take place during July and August, while the final strategy is expected to be adopted by December 2012 or January 2013.

Mayor of Clare Cllr. Pat Hayes said he regarded the harnessing of renewable energy resources as a key method of attracting inward investment to the County.

“We have an opportunity to exploit these resources and in doing so create clean energy and attract inward investment to the County and the country. This comes at a time when the country is searching for solutions to many social and economic issues”, stated Mayor Hayes.

He continued: “I am delighted that Clare County Council is taking a pro-active approach to facilitating renewable energy development in the County. The preparation of a Renewable Energy Strategy will help guide the location and development of renewable energy proposals and ancillary businesses while also establishing the views from members of the public and other stakeholders. I would encourage people to make their views known to the Planning Authority”.

Mr. Tom Coughlan, Clare County Manager added: “Clare is particularly fortunate to possess considerable wind, biomass, wave and tidal resources. It is imperative that we have a strategy in place to maximise the potential of these resources while minimising any environmental impacts, thus enabling the County to achieve a low-carbon economy.”

“The strategy will be prepared to reflect the changing economic environment and to provide a blueprint for increased economic activity and job creation through value added activities such as manufacturing and research and development. It also will facilitate development of renewable energy having regard to recent technological advances and will identify the imperative requirement for enhanced grid connectivity regulation”, Mr. Coughlan concluded.

An ‘issues paper’, which identifies renewable energy issues which the new strategy could address, has been prepared to assist public consultation and comment. The ‘issues paper’ is posted on the Council website, www.clarecoco.ie, while copies also will be available at Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co Clare (excluding Bank Holidays) and at Clare Local Authority offices and public libraries throughout between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday 6th February 2012 to Friday 9th March 2012.

Written submissions or observations with respect to the proposed Clare Renewable Energy Strategy can be made in writing to the Clare County Council Offices, Forward Planning Unit, Planning, Community, Economic Development & Tourism Directorate, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare from Monday 6th February 2012 to 4 p.m. on Friday 9th March 2012 (both dates inclusive).

Alternatively submissions or observations may be emailed to forwardplan@clarecoco.ie or may be faxed to 065 6892071. Submissions must include the full name and address of the person making the submissions (Maximum document size by email 5 MB). Submissions must be made by one medium only i.e. hard copy, email or fax before 4 p.m. Friday 9th March.

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