Clare Windfarm granted permission but may never be connected

23rd August 2011
Press Release

An Taisce Calls for joined up thinking between the Commission for Energy Regulation, The Department of Environment and Planning Authorities.

An Taisce recently appealed two wind farms on environmental concerns, one in Co. Galway (PL07.238734) and one in County Clare (PL03 .237524). Last week An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for the one in Co. Galway and this week they granted planning permission for the one in Co. Clare but this may never be connected to the Grid.

Connection of wind farms to the electricity Grid is conducted on a queuing basis, first come, first served. The proposed Co. Galway wind farm has an offer of being connected to the electricity Grid in ‘Gate 3’, which is the third application period. (It is possible to get a Grid connection offer without having planning permission or without even owning or having land leased.)

The Co. Clare wind farm did not get an application within the ‘Gate 3’ period. This means it must wait until the next application period to get a Grid connection offer. This could take years.

Charles Stanley-Smith, Chair of An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland states “An Taisce appealed both wind farms to An Bord Pleanála on environmental concerns and we now have one wind farm with planning permission but no grid connection and one wind farm with a grid connection and no planning permission. An Taisce is calling for a review of the Gate system to break this impasse and allow a second gate for connections to wind farms with planning permission.”

“We further need a National Spatial Strategy for Wind Energy that prioritises Environmental concerns for selection of suitable areas for wind farms and is tied to a Connection Strategy that prioritises connectivity to these suitable areas. This calls for a comprehensively integrated system between the Commission for Energy Regulation, The Department of Environment and Planning Authorities. ”.

He continued “We have a target of 40% renewable energy electricity by 2020, we haven’t even achieved our 2010 target of 15%. Last year in fact, fossil fuel generated electricity increased while that of renewable energy decreased. This flies in the face of our climate change commitments and does nothing to improve the three main pillars of Irish and EU energy policy: security of supply, energy efficiency and competitiveness. We urgently need strategic thinking in our provision of renewable energy”.

Ends

For further commentary/clarification please contact:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Chair, An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland, 087 2411995

Elizabeth Muldowney, Energy Officer, An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland, 087 2823842

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