Investment of £5 million committed to the area and up to 30 construction jobs
Gaelectric, the Irish renewable energy company today announced that it has received planning approval at Carn Hill, Co Antrim for a 14 Megawatt (MW) wind farm which will consist of six wind turbines and will be capable of generating energy equivalent to the average electricity consumption of approximately 8200 homes on an annual basis. The site at Carn Hill is just one of a number of projects that Gaelectric currently has in planning in Northern Ireland, totaling approximately 130MW.
Brendan McGrath, CEO Gaelectric welcomed the announcement saying, ‘We have been working on planning for a range of sites in Antrim and Tyrone for a number of years. The Carn Hill approval is very welcome as it heralds the beginning of the execution of the next stage of our development in Northern Ireland.’
‘It was very helpful over the last several years to be able to deal with the Northern Ireland Executive which was open to the benefits of renewable energy and to finding a solution that would work for the area. We are very thankful for their support.’
Gaelectric completed an extensive community consultation scheme to update local people on the proposal. A locally administered community fund amounting to £210,000 for community projects will be set up which reiterates the company’s commitment to engaging fully with local people. Gaelectric has also committed to spending up to £5m in construction and operation costs with local companies.
Other benefits of the wind farm include – greenhouse gas emission avoidance, enhancement of security of energy supply, provision of up to 30 construction jobs, with the opportunity for employment in the operation and management of the site and the provision of an educational resource for local schools. The project is also in line with the aspirations of Northern Ireland energy policy.
Gaelectric currently has 25 projects at different stages of development on the Island of Ireland. In February 2010, Gaelectric Energy Storage received a mineral prospecting license for salt which will further advance the research and development of a Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) and gas storage facility in Larne, County Antrim.
In the Republic of Ireland, Gaelectric has Gate 2 grid connections for four projects, totalling approx 18MW. The company also expects to gain Gate 3 grid connections for six other sites which could total up to 48MW.
Gaelectric’s first wind farm in Roscommon is expected to be commissioned by the end 2010.