Cork trounces Dublin as the real (wind) capital of Ireland
Cork has emerged as the centre of the Irish wind energy industry with almost 400 megawatts worth of power installed, according to a new report.
In comparison Donegal, which ranks second, has 115 less MW installed with just over 280 MW located in the county.
Rounding out the top five are Kerry, Tipperary and Wexford, which have 700 MW installed between the three of them. Dublin ranks among the worst, with less than one MW installed.
Kildare and Longford are the only counties who are poorer, with a capacity of just 0.02 MW installed in the former and none at all in the latter.
The figures are contained in a study by international consulting and engineering consultancy Pöyry carried out on behalf of the the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA).
It also showed that the total amount of wind energy capacity installed in Ireland more than doubled from 2008 to 2014, jumping from 939 MW to almost 2,300 MW.
Officials are now expecting an additional 250 MW of new wind energy capacity to be installed every year over the next five years to help Ireland meet its 2020 emission targets.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, the CEO of IWEA, Kenneth Matthews, said that the results were unsurprising as counties such as Cork and Donegal have optimal climates to utilise wind technology and added that counties which embrace the technology could see a fiscal benefit as well.
"Cork and Donegal are in premier spots and get the benefits of wind technology, one of which is an increase in commercial rates for local authorities," he said.
"Nationally about €7m was paid out in commercial rates from the wind industry nationally [to local authorities] and we would expect that to be at least €27m by 2020 so the councils that support wind energy will get a windfall in rates."
The report also predicted a sharp rise in the demand for wind energy from data centres, such as the one to be located in Athenry, Co Galway, which is set to be built by global technology giant Apple.
Mr Matthews said that this was due to a number of reasons, with the foremost being that wind energy, as well as being clean, is reliably priced, allowing companies to plan further ahead.
"The requirement for large scale data storage is growing year on year and data centres will be at the core of the 21st century economy. Given their considerable electricity consumption, internet giants, such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Intel, are increasingly looking to power their data centres using clean and renewable power sources, which constitutes a massive opportunity for Ireland, which has clean wind energy in abundance," Mr Matthews said.
He added: "We can tell you what the price of wind energy will be for the next 20 years, but that sort of thing is impossible for something like oil."