Planning refused for 49-turbine Donegal wind farm

Contentious proposal generates over 200 objections – mostly focused on height of 117m

Many of them focused on concerns about the visual impact of the turbines with a hub height of up to 117m (384ft). Photograph: PA

Many of them focused on concerns about the visual impact of the turbines with a hub height of up to 117m (384ft). Photograph: PA

 

Planning permission for the biggest wind farm in the country in a sparsely populated area of Donegal has been refused.

Cork firm Planree Limited lodged plans in 2014 with An Bord Pleanála under the strategic infrastructure development fast-tracking planning process to erect up to 49 giant turbines.

The site stretches for 17km over 31 townlands near the famous Barnesmore Gap in Donegal, close to the border with Tyrone.

The development would have been bigger than the 88.5 Megawatts (MW) Meentycat wind farm in Donegal which is the biggest in the Republic.

More than 200 objections were lodged with the appeals board. Many of them focused on concerns about the visual impact of the turbines with a hub height of up to 117m (384ft), only slightly lower than Dublin’s 121m Spire on O’Connell Street.

‘Vigorously opposed’

The planning application has been refused, mainly because of the environmental impact.

A spokesperson for the Finn Valley Wind Action Group said: “We wish to make it clear to the applicants in this case, and any others who may consider making a similar application in our area, that any future applications here will also be vigorously opposed.”

According to the promoters of the project, the proposed Carrickaduff wind farm would have had an installed generation capacity of 105MW, enough to power the equivalent of 60,000 homes, or approximately 80 per cent of all Donegal households.

Nationally, the total installed capacity of wind farms is 3,073 MW with Cork (438 MW) and Kerry (315 MW) ahead of Donegal, with its 33 wind farms generating 297 MW.