A second wind turbine application, initially for a single structure, has been lodged on a site just outside Carrick-on-Suir, just 600 metres from a separate, pre-existing proposal to develop eight turbines across two adjoining hills.
The application by LANA Wind Developments Ltd, an associate company of Clonmel-based Hyrdotec Engineering Ltd, was received by Tipperary County Council on August 10th, and seeks the erection of a single turbine of 500kw capacity, in Rathclarish, just under five miles from Carrick.
The application adds: “Permission for a second turbine on a nearby site will be sought as part of a separate application. The electrical energy produced by the turbine will be sold to Pinergy. In return, Pinergy will sell electricity to Hydrotec at a reduced rate…and will also generate an additional income stream for the business. In doing so, it will secure the future of the business and protect the employment of the 30 staff currently employed there”.
The applicant also states that its proposal is “located in an area defined as ‘Open to Consideration’ (although it is proximal to an area defined as unsuitable for wind development)…
“In relation to areas defined as ‘Open to Consideration’ the (South Tipperary County) Development Plan states that ‘wind energy development in these areas may or may not be appropriate depending on the character of the landscape and the potential impact of the proposed development.'”
The land in question has been leased to LANA by owners Roger and Patricia Betts, and, if approved, would house a 55-metre (180 feet) high tower, and a three blade rotor, which would rise, at its peak, to 22.5 metres (73.8 feet) above the tower.
Construction of the turbine and its ancillary features, the application outlines, would “take approximately one month” and would entail “less than two (HGV delivery) loads per day”.
Regarding decommissioning and re-instatement, the application states: “There is no intended decommissioning date. However, the typical lifespan of a turbine is 25 years. On decommissioning of the development all structures will be removed and the pre-existing ground cover will be reinstated and re-seeded. Experience suggests that full vegetation returns to disturbed areas over the course of 1-2 years.”
Regarding biodiversity, the applicant notes: “The area within the site is located is not known to be noted for any rare or protected flora or fauna and has not been designated as a Natural Heritage Area, Special Area of Conservation, or any other similar zoning.”
Conceding that the proposal carries the “potential for the works to impact on the local flora and fauna,” LANA adds: “any impact will be insignificant insofar as the area does not have any special entomological or floristic significance”.
The applicant has also committed to employing a “suitably qualified archaeologist to monitor topsoil removal during the construction phase and to oversee the excavation of all trenches on site”.
Needless to say, the news has gone down like a lead balloon with the Suir Valley Environmental Group, along with the Faugheen Against Pylons group, which represents residents in the villages of Faugheen, Ahenny, Ballyneale and Grangemockler.
“It is believed that there are also other small wind energy companies about to apply for permission in the area,” the groups claimed in a joint statement issued on Thursday last.
“If allowed, wind turbines could be erected one turbine at a time by a variety of small companies, effectively creating a large wind energy project in an area that is supposed to be protected by Tipperary County Council.”
The statement continues: “Local community groups are deeply concerned about the nature of this new development, and are particularly upset by the fact that there has been no public consultation nor any attempt to publicise the development by LANA Wind Developments in South Tipperary, which means that the majority of local residents still do not know about this planning application.
“As a result there are only three weeks for people to submit their observations to the County Council on this planning application.”
Meanwhile, a fundraising night as part of the campaign to oppose the Dunoair Carrigadoon Wind Park project is to be held at Fleming’s Bar, Faugheen on Saturday next, August 29th from 9.30pm. Local musicians, including Panie Bartley, Breege Phelan and Pete MacGowan will perform at the fundraiser, which is being organised by the Suir Valley Environmental Group.
According to a spokesperson: “The proposed Carrigadoon Wind Turbine project will affect a wide area, from Faugheen to Ahenny, Grangemockler, Ballyneale, Kilcash, and Carrick-on-Suir. This major industrial development will be visible across vast areas of Tipperary, Kilkenny and Waterford, from Clonmel to Mooncoin, Portlaw and Callan.”