BORD na Móna has welcomed the decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant planning consent for the development of a wind farm at Mountlucas.
The proposed development, to be known as Mountlucas Wind Farm, will have a generating capacity of 80 MW.
When operational it will improve the geographical distribution of wind energy facilities nationally and hence contribute to more balanced input of wind energy to the grid in support of the Government's 40% target for electricity from renewable energy sources.
This will help to ensure that, by 2020, 40% of electricity generated in the state will come from renewable sources.
A group of residents calling themselves the Concerned Residents of Drumcaw made an objection to an Bord Pleanala citing a number of reasons for their opposition to the proposal last August.
While Bord na Mona claim the wind farm would create 30 new jobs, the group believe there is no guarantee any of these will go to locals
The proposed development forms part of Bord na Mna's long term strategy of diversification beyond it's traditional peat-based businesses. As part of this diversification it is developing a portfolio of generating assets, including wind farms and complementary flexible thermal plant.
An application for connection of the wind farm to the national grid has been made to EirGrid. It is included in the Gate 3 list of projects to be processed for connection and it is scheduled to get an offer for connection to the system in early 2011.
Welcoming the planning approval, Gabriel D'Arcy, the Chief Executive commented:"We are delighted with the decision to grant planning consent for the new wind farm at Mountlucas. This is a major milestone on the road to bringing this project to fruition. We will now press on with work on the other strands of the project to bring it to construction stage and a successful conclusion."
It is expected that the construction of the new wind farm will take place over an 18 to 24 month period and will involve an investment of approximately €120m, with up to 30 workers employed on the project at peak.
Once in operation the farm will support a small number of operation and maintenance jobs. When operational, the farm will generate enough electricity to supply the needs of approximately 45,000 homes with green electricity and it will prevent the emission every year of 125,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
Those areas of the site that are still in active peat production will not be affected by the development of the wind farm, and peat production will continue as normal.