Midlands will not be blighted by wind farms: Minister Rabbitte

The midlands will not be blighted by wind turbines, Minister Pat Rabbitte told the Irish Wind Energy Association conference yesterday (Thursday) in Galway.
In a speech at the event Minister Rabbitte outlined that large-scale projects for export - like those planned for the wider midland counties - will only proceed in compliance with a national policy framework. In the same speech the Minister said citizens and community groups are entitled to have their concerns properly addressed, and while misinformation is circulating, dismissing those questioning wind energy should not be happening.
“It is not true that there won’t be a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA),” Minister Rabbitte said. “It is not true that the skies over the midlands will be blighted by wind turbines. It is not true that communities will be excluded from inputting into the process. It is not true that we will be giving away a valuable indigenous resource.
It is not true that we will be exporting green energy at the expense of meeting our own mandatory domestic targets.
It is not true that there are no jobs for local people in developing an export sector in green energy. Nor is it right to exaggerate the number of jobs that will be created, although none of us can forecast precisely the exciting potential.”
In his speech Minister Rabbitte reinforced that he is putting in place a national renewable energy export policy and planning framework, which will guide An Bord Pleanála when considering any proposals of a significant scale for wind energy export projects.
“The proposed large–scale wind farms intending to export must await the putting in place of this framework which will be underpinned by a Strategic Environmental Assessment,” he said.
A special section on renewable exports is due to go live on the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources website within the coming weeks, he added.