Castlepook wind farm fund opened
Community groups in the vicinity of the Castlepook Wind Farm near Doneraile have once gain been invited to share in a funding windfall under a scheme established by its joint developers.
In late 2016, almost four years after the controversial wind farm was given final approval by An Bord Pleanála, the ESB and Coillte announced the project was finally set to move forward after a finance agreement was brokered with Bank of Ireland.
The wind farm at the Coillte Ballyhoura Forest, which became operational last year, cost around €64 million and has a total of 14 turbines with a combined generating capacity of 33.3 mega watts of electricity, enough to power the equivalent of approximately 17,000 homes per year.
In 2017 a joint ESB/Coillte funded Community Development Fund was set up, with community and voluntary organisations invited to apply for financial assistance to help a variety of initiatives that would "support and benefit" the region surrounding the wind farm.
The annual fund will have a cumulative value of approximately €1.2 million during the operational life span of the wind farm.
At the time an ESB spokesperson said the Community Fund underscored their long-term commitment to the local community.
"We are proud to be able to support these initiatives. In making this fund available annually over the next 25 years we aim to contribute to the development of essential infrastructure and services and assist groups who are committed to helping their community reach its full potential and make things happen," he said.
Since its inception, the fund has committed to investing €129,000 in 22 projects within the vicinity of Castlepook with development companies, community and parish councils, schools, GAA clubs and a scout group having benefited under its auspices.
Applications for this year have now been opened, with submissions being accepted up until 5pm on Friday, March 15.
A spokesperson for Castlepook Power DAC, who administer the fund, said that in order to be eligible for funding project must fall within one or more pre-defined broad themes. These cover educations and skills; health, safety and well-being; environment and habitat conservation; energy efficiency and sustainability; culture and heritage recreation, sport and social inclusion and tourism.
For further information about the Community Fund and details on the application process visit www.castlepookwindfarm.ie.