Friday 17 January 2020

Wind farm costs to rise under new rules - IWEA

Concerns: The new proposals include standards for noise
Concerns: The new proposals include standards for noise
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

THE Irish Wind Energy Association has criticised proposed new rules for onshore wind farm development, claiming it will be "more difficult and more expensive" to construct projects under the plans.

The rules would see new standards for noise, mandatory community consultations, a minimum setback distance of 500 metres from any residential property in the vicinity of a new development, and other measures.

The proposals are now open to public consultation.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said the proposals were "aimed at striking a better balance between addressing the needs to local communities and maintaining Ireland's ability to deliver on its renewable energy ambitions".

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Richard Bruton, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said that by 2030, 70pc of Ireland's electricity was expected to be generated from renewable sources.

"These guidelines are crucial to delivering the step up that is required and will give clarity to project leaders," Mr Bruton said.

Among the other proposals are that communities where wind farms are developed must be permitted to take part-ownership in projects, benefit from another type of dividend, or a combination of the two.

"Although we have not yet had time to study the new draft guidelines in detail, it is immediately clear that they will make it more difficult and more expensive to develop renewable energy in Ireland, and will significantly undermine the Government's own Climate Action Plan," said David Connolly, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA).

The IWEA said analysis prepared for it by Everoze on the new noise limits showed they would lead to an average 11.4pc increase in the price of wind-generated electricity.

It claimed this would see the cost of installing the 4GW of onshore wind required in the Climate Action Plan rising by about €2.7bn over the next 25 years.

Irish Independent

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