WIND FARM TRIALS TO BEGIN IN KILDARE

Kildare’s first wind farm may be in the pipeline, as Bord na Mona’s plans for controversial turbines move a step closer.

Kildare’s first wind farm may be in the pipeline, as Bord na Mona’s plans for controversial turbines move a step closer.

A proposal for a 100m high wind monitoring mast to assess wind strength at bogland near Rathangan is currently being considered by Kildare County Council.

The company is one of a number of commercial entities, which are looking to erect up to 450 wind turbines across the midlands, bringing billions of euro of investment and jobs.

However, opponents fear they will impact on wildlife and pose problems for those living nearby.

The mast at Blackriver Bog, Lullybeg, if allowed to proceed, will be up to 100m high.

It will be 4.5km from Rathangan, 8km from Allenwood, 10km from Carbury, 10km from Derrinturn and 12km from Coill Dubh. Access to the site can be gained through Killyguire Lane.

The Department of Defence and the Irish Aviation Authority have asked that the mast be fitted with lights as intensive military flying training takes place in the area.

Objector Michael Hoey from Rathangan has questioned the effect it will have on wildlife and the River Barrow catchment area.

“This proposed development is the first stage in a plan to establish the suitability of the developers adjacent lands for wind farm (as stated by the applicant on November 29 2012) developments without establishing the need or assessing the likely impact on the surrounding countryside which stretches from Prosperous to Athlone,” he outlined in his objection.

He asked for the applicants to communicate with all communities connected with the Bog of Allen.

An Taisce’s Ian Lumley said an evaluation was required on the suitability of the location for future wind turbine developments. Kildare County Council has sought and received further information. It is due to make its decision by June 10.

A wind energy conference, in Tullamore last April, was told Ireland’s domestic use of electricity is five gigawatts, but if harnessed fully, the country has the ability to produce up to 75 gigawatts from wind alone. Bord na Mona’s John Reilly spoke about spending E110 million on the wind farm at Mount Lucas, which will be the midlands’ first and open next year.

- Niamh O’Donoghue