As the first wind turbines appeared on the Kildare horizon on the Offaly side of the border at Mount Lucas, the debate continued on the merits of wind energy and the need for the upgrade of the electricity supply lines.
The first two of 28 turbines were put in position at the Bord Na Mona facility last week. This year, two midlands applications for wind farms are due from Mainstream and Element Power, while Bord Na Mona plans to lodge its application next year.
The recent announcement of a review of the underground V overground options for the new Grink Link project, which will run through south Kildare, also drew some ire.
Senator John Whelan described it as a “shambles - a ply that will end in tears.”
He said he had grave misgivings about “the process, its limited scope and restrictive parameters.”
He is due to meet Eamon Gilmore this week to discuss the Grid upgrade, wind turbines and energy policy.
“Minister Rabbitte has clearly aligned himself with Eirgrid and the folly of doubling the capacity of the national grid so as to facilitate the development of massive industrial wind farms in the midlands, primarily for export. I cannot for the world of me understand why the Government has invested so much in this flawed energy strategy formulated by the then Minister, Eamon Ryan back in 2006,” he said.
Kildare Environmental Awareness Group (KEAG) branded the review “a futile exercise, which can only lead to one conclusion.” It has called for an independent review of the national renewable energy plan. EirGrid has welcomed the review and said it was important to listen to the concerns of communities. The wind energy companies continue to stress the economic benefits of wind energy and point out thousands of people live happily beside wind farms all over the world.