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Fahybeg windfarm updates furnished

THE developers of a windfarm in South East Clare have made updated information available in response to public queries over the potential impact on health and property prices.
RWE Renewables Ireland Limited, which describes itself as one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, said it is half-way through an eight-week pre-planning consultation process and keen to engage with the community living close to the 320-hectare site which is 6km south west of Killaloe and 1.5km north of Bridgetown.
The German company also said that, to date, the exact locations of the eight proposed turbines in the Fahybeg Windfarm have not been pinned down and that studies to determine these are underway.
“So far we have been contacted by residents by phone, text and by email and some residents have asked to meet with us in person,” said a letter issued by the company. We have managed to meet them in their gardens over the last couple of weeks, taking Covid-19 guidelines into consideration.”
The correspondence sent in recent days noted that: “People are wondering about the positions of the turbines. At the moment we have very early draft locations. When we have completed more studies, including bat monitoring and other Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) surveys, we will be able to put together the draft turbine locations.
“When we have these surveys complete and the proposed locations finalised, we will once again revert to you looking for your thoughts on this next stage of the project. We would hope to meet with residents on a face to face basis, depending again on Covid-19 restrictions, at that time.”
The letter stated that the website Rwe.com/fahybeg has been updated with answers to people’s questions including one on health and one on property prices.
As a mandatory element of windfarm projects, RWE will administer a community fund in the event of securing planning permission, a figure which could range from €168,000 to €288,000 per annum for 15 years.
A brochure on the project also outlines the potential for community shared ownership. It details the creation of up to 70 jobs during the construction of the 180m high turbines. Rates income for Clare could run to €1m annually. The developers have said the windfarm is “critical to help Ireland meet its EU renewable energy target by 2030”.
RWE also contends that renewable energy generated by the development could displace thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide over its lifetime and lead to cheaper electricity and improved energy security.
The dedicated Fahy Beg Project phone number is 087-1519219, the email address is fahybeg@rwe.com and the postal address is Fahy Beg Wind Farm, Desart House, Lower New Street, Kilkenny, R95 H488.
Environmental Impact Studies (EIS) have begun within the area at Fahy Beg, Fahy More North, Ballymoloney and Ballyknavin townlands. A planning application is expected to be lodged early next year.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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