Sheskin Wind Farm
ABO Wind Ireland Ltd were granted planning permission for 8 wind turbines up to 150m in height and associated infrastructure on Coillte land at Sheskin forest, Bellacorick in December 2016.
It is important to us that communities surrounding the site are kept informed about developments in the project, and given the opportunity to give feedback prior to us making a planning application, so that any suggestions and concerns can be taken on board.
We are now intending to apply to amend the planning permission to allow for an increase in the height of the turbines. Turbines 1-3 would increase from 150m to 176m and turbines 4-8 would increase from 150m to 165m. This design approach takes into account the nature and elevation of the site and aims to ensure that there is no noticeable difference in the appearance of the revised scheme, compared with the original. Almost all elements of the consented scheme such as turbine locations and access track layout remain unchanged, with the exception of a slight increase in foundation size.
Rationale for the changes
There have been significant advancements in turbine technology over recent years and there are now a range of larger wind turbines available on the market. The rationale for the increase in turbine dimensions is to increase electricity production from Sheskin wind farm by using larger wind turbines with higher tip heights which can extract more energy from the wind. This will increase the estimated annual production of the project from 77,000 GWh to 100,000 GWh, resulting in an increase in carbon savings from 49,264 tonnes to 64,025 tonnes per annum, and meeting the electricity needs of approximately 23,600 homes, an increase of 5,500 compared with the consented scheme.
In line with the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) high level design paper, Sheskin wind farm will contribute €2/MWh to a community benefit fund.
Sheskin Wind Farm site is located in the townland of Sheskin circa 8 km north of the settlement of Bellacorick. It lies immediately to the east of Slieve Fyagh Mountain (331 m) at the northern extent of the Nephin Beg Range. The village of Glenamoy and town of Bangor Erris are circa 8km to the northeast and circa 12 km to the south west respectively.
General access to the site will be via the N59 national secondary route and L52926 local road which connects with an existing forest road that extends to the site entrance. The N59 circles around the west of Ireland, starting in County Sligo and passing west into County Mayo through Ballina and proceeding indirectly to Westport and south east to Galway City.
The site area covers approximately 688 ha, and overall falls on a gentle gradient from north west to south east. The site is entirely owned by Coillte Teoranta and was planted mostly in the 1980’s with coniferous forest of predominantly Lodgepole Pines and Sitka Spruce.
As the project is at an early planning stage, no decision on final turbine selection has been made. The final turbine will consist of a tower up to 120m and a blade length up to 70m with an overall height not exceeding 176m (T1-T3) or 165m (T5-T8).
Photomontage – view of Sheskin turbines from Western way 2 km north of site
Photomontage – view of Sheskin turbines from Western way at Tawnaghmore
Photomontage – view of Sheskin turbines from local road at Srahmeen
At the time of the original planning application, the project had a grid connection offer for 16.1 MW. The connection agreement under the name Sheskin Wind Farm Ltd has since been modified to include an additional 16.8 MW of grid capacity previously owned by Tawnaghmore wind farm. This brings the total grid capacity owned by Sheskin Wind Farm Ltd. to 32.9 MW.
The grid capacity will become available in phases; Phase 1 will consist of 16.8 MW and Phase 2 will be the remaining 16.1 MW.
As such, it is likely that the project will be built out in two phases over the period of the ten year planning permission, with up to five turbines built out in the first phase, and the remaining turbines built out in the second phase.
- Phase 1 construction – 2020
- Phase 2 construction – 2022
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.