ABO Wind NI Ltd has sold the project rights to its Castlegore wind farm development, located near Kells in County Antrim. The project has been acquired by Capital Dynamics, an independent global private asset management firm, for an undisclosed sum.
The deal was completed in May 2020, despite the lockdown measures imposed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. ABO Wind NI received full planning permission for a 7-turbine, 23.1-megawatt wind farm at the site in August 2019. Capital Dynamics intends to bring the project, which is unsubsidised, online by early 2022.
Once fully operational, the project is estimated to reduce greenhouse emissions by over 1.3 million metric tons during its lifetime – the equivalent of emissions produced by almost 300,000 passenger vehicles driven for a year or the electricity to power over 156,000 homes for a year.
Tamasin Fraser, Director of ABO Wind NI, said: "We are pleased to announce the sale of the Castlegore wind farm project to Capital Dynamics. This shows that good renewable energy projects in Northern Ireland are still attractive to investors and will continue to perform well even as the broader economic outlook becomes more challenging."
This type of investment is also essential if Northern Ireland is to continue its fight against climate change and lower its CO2 emmissions. ABO Wind NI remains committed to playing its role in that battle, and we are continuing to progress a number of live wind farm and battery storage projects across the region. But it is not without risk.
"We are eagerly awaiting the new Energy Strategy, due to be published by the Department for the Economy this year, which we hope will set out a roadmap for renewable energy generation in Northern Ireland in the coming years," Fraser said.
There is a growing consensus that the green economy should be put at the heart of the post-COVID economic recovery, and renewable energy generation will play a central role in that. "Clear policy direction will allow ABO Wind and others to continue to invest in innovative projects across Northern Ireland which will boost the local economy, create jobs and help achieve net zero carbon emmissions," Fraser said.
Full planning permission was granted on 6th August 2019 for an amalgamated 7 turbine wind farm. A connection offer to connect the wind farm to the grid has been successfully secured. SONI/NIE are responsible for delivery of the connection and design works are ongoing. In the meantime, turbine optimisation is underway to ensure maximum efficiency at the site.
Following the successful acquisition of the neighbouring Whappstown site and securing of planning permission for a link road between the two previously approved wind farms, it is proposed that the two sites will be developed as one wind farm. As such, a planning application has been submitted to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to reconfigure the two sites in to one.
The proposed changes will harmonise turbine dimensions, optimise turbine spacing and improve overall efficiency of the amalgamated wind farm scheme. With seven turbines, the development will have the capacity to produce in the region of 23.1MW of renewable electricity.
Planning permission was granted by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council/Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council on 23rd July 2015. We are currently in discussion with NIE/SONI on where the site will connect to the grid and what the timeline for connection will be.
The Castlegore site is located 7km east of the village of Kells in County Antrim. It is 3km south of the A36, a main road connecting Larne and Ballymena. The scheme would have an installed capacity of 10MW, comprising 4 turbines, each with a maximum blade tip height of 125m and a hub height of 80m. Access to the site would be from the Tildarg Road via an existing access over private lands.
The planning application to develop a 15MW wind farm comprising 6 turbines was submitted in March 2011 after a long period of site investigations which resulted in an Environmental Impact Study (ES). As a result of the consultation process Further Environmental Information (FEI) was submitted to Northern Ireland Planning Service in December 2011, and the number of turbines reduced from 6 to 4.
The planning application, further environmental information and related documents and correspondence are available to view on the planning service public access portal. Hard copies can be viewed at Kells and Connor public library.
At a proposed 10MW Castlegore Wind Farm could generate 33m kWh of electricity per year. This is enough clean green energy to supply 8,000 homes and to reduce CO2 emissions by 25,000 tons.
This project supports National and EU objectives for promoting renewable energy development and achieving the Northern Ireland target of 40% of electricity supply to be generated from renewable sources by 2020.
ABO Wind follows a policy of providing direct local community benefit in recognition of local communities hosting onshore wind energy projects.
If you are interested in further information or would like to make suggestions, please contact us:
ABO Wind N.I. Ltd.
Unit 1 Wallace Studios
Phone: +44 (0) 28 9099 6445