Major South Roscommon windfarm project is revived
A major wind farm is back on the agenda in south Roscommon over six years after the local community won a High Court battle overturning approval for the initial plan.
Then it was Cavan-based Galetech driving what was known as the Seven Hills Windfarm proposal, now it is the more high-profile Energia Renewables, which has revived the proposal for the 21-strong wind turbine project stretching over areas of Dysart, Brideswell and Taughmaconnell which attracted huge local opposition when it first came to light back in 2010.
Recently the energy provider submitted a request to An Bord Pleanála seeking a formal pre-application consultation meeting under legislation governing Strategic Infrastructure Developments (SID), the fast track planning process for large scale development which essentially bypasses the local authority planning process.
Following this meeting, An Bord Pleanála will rule whether the documents submitted constitute a reasonable basis for a SID application – and if so, a formal planning application can then be lodged directly with the board.
According to the Energia website, the power company are “working with Galetech Energy Developments to develop a wind farm site in south Roscommon” consisting of "approximately 21 wind turbines with a typical output of 5-6 megawatts per turbine - enough to provide around 85,000 Irish households with renewable electricity every year,” it added.
A community consultation meeting was due to take place shortly in Dysart on the revived scheme but government restrictions have put paid to that for the time being. It's believed the energy company had completed door-to-door consultation with many of those of living within a kilometre of the project before the lockdown.
“In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and in line with government guidance, we’ve postponed all public meetings, face-to-face consultations and door-to-door visits until the restriction of movement has come to an end,” Energia explained, adding they will, however, provide information or answer questions via post, freephone or online channels.
“It will be opposed,” Cllr Tony Ward said starkly. “The community a few years back rejected it for various reasons, and I'll be standing with the community again as I did previously. It's unfair and uncalled for,” the Independent representative complained, saying all of these developers are being subsidised by the government and every electricity customer who pay a levy for these types of projects.