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FuturEnergy Ireland will apply directly to An Bord Pleanála for a grid connection for the Carrownagowan Wind Farm. The proposed cable will 25km to Ardnacrusha.

Consultation begins on second proposed wind farm led by Coillte

COILLTE is planning a second East Clare wind farm development, as part of a joint venture to develop a renewable energy generation facility between Broadford and Sixmilebridge. 

The company, together with the ESB, operate as FuturEnergy Ireland. They are the developers of the 19-turbine Carrownagowan Wind Farm, on the slopes of Slieve Bearnagh, which recently secured planning permission directly from An Bórd Pleanála under the Strategic Infrastructure Act.

Their latest Clare venture is the Knockshanvo Wind Farm, whose precise specifications have not yet been outlined. The company has promised “a comprehensive community engagement programme” as two liaison officers begin to introduce the project in the locality. A website for the project estimates that the application will be submitted, as Strategic Infrastructure, at the end of 2023. 

According to the company, the proposed site is located around 3km south of Broadford and 4km north-east of Sixmilebridge. The wind farm project is described as being “in the early stages of development”. A website for the project outlines that most of the study site has been

identified as a strategic areafor wind energy in the Clare County Development Plan. The area being studied currently runs from Glenwood, to the west, as far as Kylegass to the east, crossing some of Knockanuarha in the 12 O’Clock Hills.

The project website notes that “the wind farm would occupy a relatively small proportion of an overall site area – an approximate 3% footprint – which means that many other land uses can co-exist such as commercial forestry, farming, recreation and biodiversity management”. 

A press statement from FuturEnergy Ireland outlined that the “project team is undertaking initial site studies and environmental assessments that will inform a draft design layout, the results of which will be shared with the local community as soon as they are available”.

The number of turbines in the development and their layout will be determined by further “in-depth studies on topics including hydrology, ecology, landscape/visual, noise, shadow flicker, telecoms, traffic, soil and archeology alongside further community engagement activities”.

“The application is likely to be submitted for independent review to An Bord Pleanála under ABPs Strategic Infrastructure Development process,” the statement said.

FuturEnergy Ireland has also outlined that two local Community Liaison Officers, Christy ODea and Kevin Donnellan, are introducing the project to the community. “As part of their engagement, the first project newsletter is being distributed to houses in the vicinity of the project site,” the company’s statement added. A second newsletter to be distributed early next year is set to include a draft layout for the turbines. 

According to the company, the consultation process will include newsletter and website updates, a webinar and a community engagement clinic, to give the local community opportunities to learn about and discuss the project.

The developers said that given the energy crisis, the Knockshanvo project has the potential to make a meaningful contribution by utilising Irelands unique natural wind resource to provide low-cost electricity to the national grid. The company also referred to “a substantial local Community Benefit Fund and significant rates contributions to Clare County Council” as further advantages from the development, as well as “potential to provide recreational amenities and employment opportunities”.

Sandra Kelly, project developer for the proposed Knockshanvo Wind Farm, said the facility can help address climate change.As we recently saw at COP 27, which highlighted the urgency of the global climate crisis, Irelands need to increase its renewable energy supply has never been more critical,” she said. “Wind energy projects such as Knockshanvo are one way in which we can combat climate change. There is also an urgent need for the nation to achieve greater security of supply, reducing Irelands reliance on imported and expensive fossil fuels, and improve price stability in our energy system.”

On the issue of consultation, Ms Kelly said: The project team is available for open, active engagement with the community and local representatives throughout the consultation process. We welcome your feedback. Our aim is to develop responsible wind energy projects in a way that is good for us, good for society and good for our neighbours.” 

Community Liaison Officers Christy ODea can be contacted on 087-3958867; while Kevin Donnellan is on 087-4315976. Emails can be sent to knockshanvo@futurenergyireland.ie and updates will be available on Knockshanvowindfarm.ie

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