Kilranelagh Wind Farm
ABO Wind Ireland Limited are at an early stage of developing a wind farm proposal in your local area at Kilranelagh, Co. Wicklow.
17 February 2020: Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
Initial feedback received regarding the proposed wind farm project at Kilranelagh is that there are particular concerns in relation to cultural heritage/archaeology.
There are two aspects to this which we are currently working on and plan to address prior to submitting a planning application later on this year.
1. On site archaeology
At an early stage of the project, archaeologists were engaged and detailed research and an initial site inspection has taken place. This has allowed recorded and known archaeological features to be identified and mapped on Kilranelagh Hill. Turbines and associated infrastructure will be located outside agreed exclusion zones associated with all identified archaeological features. Ongoing site work and consultation is now taking place to ensure that all cultural heritage assets are considered at an early stage of this project and to inform the iterative, decision-making process.
If the project obtains planning permission and is constructed, all work will be carried out in accordance to the requirements of the statutory authorities.
2. Wider archaeological landscape
Another aspect is the setting of the wind farm in the context of the broader archaeological landscape and the hillforts situated at Spinans/Brusselstown Hill, and Baltinglass Hill as well as prehistoric ritual monuments on Keadeen Mountain. Our archaeologists and landscape architects will be working closely together over the coming months to carry out an in-depth assessment of the potential impacts of the proposals.
We also intend to engage with the National Monuments Service (NMS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Wicklow County Council and other interested parties.
30 January 2020: How we design a wind farm
Stage 1 – Constraints Mapping
The first stage of site design is to map out all of the site constraints including setbacks from properties, watercourses, archaeological features, sensitive ecology and landscape areas and telecommunications. We use both in-house resources and expert consultants i.e. ecologists, archaeologists, landscape architects. We apply buffers to these areas and these will be ‘no go’ areas for wind turbines and site infrastructure. This helps us to establish ‘developable areas’ i.e. areas where we could in theory place turbines and site infrastructure.
Stage 2 – Preliminary Consultation Layout
We take the developable areas and place turbines in these areas, using the recommended spacing between turbines to avoid turbulence/wake effects. This is then our preliminary layout which we consult on, in order to gain feedback from the local community and our expert consultants. We collate all comments/feedback received from all parties into a feedback log.
This is the stage we are currently at with Kilranelagh. See preliminary consultation layout below –
Stage 3 – Site Optimisation
We give the feedback log to our wind yield team who will refine the site layout to take on board these comments, while also trying to maximise the amount of energy that could be generated from the wind farm.
Stage 4 – Design Freeze
We will then have a ‘frozen’ layout which we give to our consultants to base their detailed assessments on. These assessments are compiled into an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) which will be submitted with the planning application. Occasionally some issues crop up during the EIA phase following further investigation and consultation, which could require some tweaks to the layout.
Stage 5 – Planning Submission – Layout Fixed
Once the planning application, EIAR and planning drawings have been submitted to the planning, no further changes can be made to the wind farm site layout.
January 2020: Kilranelagh website goes live
This new website will keep interested residents informed about the development of our wind farm Kilranelagh. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions!
The proposed wind farm site falls within the orange category in the Wind Energy Strategy as set out in the Wicklow County Development Plan 2016-2022. This means that wind farm developments will be considered, but that there could be sensitivities in certain areas which would render exploitation more problematic.
Over the last few months, we have carried out some early stage feasibility and constraints studies in order to establish whether the Kilranelagh site would be a suitable location for a wind farm. These studies included a landscape and visual assessment, ornithology and ecology surveys, and an archaeology site walkover.
Following a detailed review of the findings, no problematic sensitivities were revealed and we believe that the site has the capacity to accommodate up to 9 wind turbines with a maximum overall height of 165m.
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 Wicklow County Council. The target date for planning submission is summer 2020.
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. Local people will also have the opportunity to invest in the project.
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.