ABO Wind Ireland Limited are at an early stage of developing a wind farm proposal in your local area within the townland of Keerglen, Co. Mayo.
Throughout the development process you will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to the ABO Wind Ireland Community Liaison Officer. This will help shape the proposals and allow us to explore ways in which the project could bring benefits to the local community.
The proposed wind farm site falls within the ‘Tier 2 – Open for Consideration‘, and ‘Priority Areas‘ categories in the Mayo Wind Energy Strategy (2011-2020) as set out in the Mayo County Development Plan 2014-2020 (as varied). Wind farm developments are preferred in ‘Priority Areas‘ while ‘Tier 2 – Open for Consideration‘ identifies areas which may be considered for wind farms but where the visual impact on sensitve or vulnerable landscapes, listed highly scenic routes, scenic routes, scenic viewing points and scenic routes will be the principal consideration for the Council.
Over the past months, we have carried out some early stage feasibility and constraints studies in order to establish whether the Keerglen site would be a suitable location for a wind farm. These studies included a landscape and visual assessment, ornithology and ecology surveys. Following a detailed review of the preliminary findings, no problematic sensitivities were
revealed and we believe that the site has the capacity to accommodate approximately 14 wind turbines.
Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Planning Application
Over the coming months we will be carrying out more detailed environmental studies across the site including ecology/ornithology, geology and hydrology, landscape and visual, shadow flicker, noise, archaeology, traffic and transport, air quality, forestry, population and human health, and telecommunications in order to ensure that the proposed development will not have an adverse effect on the local environment or on people living in the area.
These studies will be compiled into an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) which will be submitted along with a planning application to Mayo County Council. We are currently targeting submitting the planning application and the EIAR in mid 2022.
Community Benefit Fund and Community Investment
If the project receives planning permission and is constructed, ABO Wind will set up a community benefit fund. This will benefit communities living closest to the wind farm. This fund can be tailored to meet the needs of the local community and we are happy to take on board any ideas or suggestions relating to the fund.
Why wind energy?
It is widely acknowledged that climate change is a very real threat to our society and that we must take immediate action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. One of the key ways to do this, as identified by the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2021, is to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels such as coal, peat and gas and increase the share of renewables providing us with our electricity from 40% in 2020 to 80% by 2030. In order to reach this target, the Climate Action Plan states that we require approximately 8GW of onshore wind to be installed. There is approximately 4GW of installed onshore wind capacity in Ireland. Therefore, a significant increase in the amount of onshore wind is required to meet our climate change objectives. As Ireland’s largest renewable electricity resource, onshore wind further brings the added benefit of being the cheapest form of electricity for consumers across the island.
Wind Energy in Ireland
The wind on almost the entire island blows as evenly and strongly as it does, at best, on the coasts of Central Europe. 3,500 full capacity hours are not a rarity, even for inland Irish wind farms.
But the limited grid capacities hamper a faster expansion of wind energy. With 60 inhabitants per square kilometre, the island is thinly populated – in Germany, for example, almost four times as many people (230 inhabitants per square kilometre) are bustling about in the same space and even more in the United Kingdom. Thus, the infrastructure is rather poor in some areas. As a result, the connection of a new wind farm to the Irish grid takes years in some regions.
In spite of this fact and despite the economic crises of 2008/2009, ABO succeeded in financing and finalizing the wind farms Glenough and Gortahile. Gortahile wind farm (20 megawatts), which was acquired by BNP Paribas Investment Partners, has been in operation since August 2010.
In autumn 2011, the largest wind farm (32.5 megawatts) ever constructed by ABO Wind was connected to the grid in Ireland. For the grid-connection of the wind farm Glenough, ABO Wind erected a 220 kilovolt substation. Glenough is part of the portfolio of ABO Invest, of which ABO Wind itself is a permanent shareholder. The majority of the shares belong to about 4,000 citizens.
The project Gibbet Hill in Co. Wexford with a total capacity of 15 megawatts was connected to the grid in 2013.
Our most recent project Cappawhite B in Co. Tipperary was connected to the grid in June 2018. This consists of four wind turbines with an installed capacity of 13 MW.
What questions do you have about Keerglen Wind Farm? Please do not hesitate to contact us.