Kildare stud farm fails in objection to power storage plant

Bord Pleanála grants permission for battery energy storage system near Two Mile House

A Kildare stud farm owned by US billionaire John Malone has failed to prevent plans for a new power storage plant from getting the green light.

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for a 212MW battery energy storage system (BESS) at Dunnstown near Two Mile House in Co Kildare.

The appeals board determined that the proposed BESS “would not adversely affect the bloodstock industry”.

The decision by the planning board overturns a decision by Kildare County Council to refuse planning permission last year for the lithium ion storage facility after several of the country’s leading stud farms had objected to the proposal.


Those opposing the power plant included the Aga Khan’s Sallymount and Gilltown studs, John Malone’s Castlemartin stud, the Irish National Stud and the Irish Thoroughbred Horsebreeders’ Association.

In total, Kildare County Council received 171 third party submissions with only one in support of the proposal.

The applicant, Strategic Power Projects Ltd told the appeals board that there would be no impacts on the stud farm industry arising from the proposed development.

The BESS is to comprise 76 battery units to be contained in 76 shipping container units on agricultural lands.

The case came before An Bord Pleanála after Strategic Power Projects Ltd appealed the council’s refusal decision and after the operator of Mr Malone’s Castlemartin stud, Clementville Ltd, argued that the reasons for refusal did not go far enough.

Mr Malone’s MHL Collection owns a string of major hotels here while his Liberty Global owns Virgin Media Ireland.

In the Clementville Ltd appeal, Ann Mulcrone, of Reid Associates contended that the proposed development “would be incompatible development located within the heart of the equine industry in Kildare and adversely impact on the operation of the stud farm at the Castlemartin Demesne”.

The appeals said that there were 20 major studs within 5km of Dunnstown including the Aga Khan’s Gilltown and Sallymount studs.

BESS units allow electrical energy to be stored when production on the electrical grid exceeds consumption and the power is returned to the grid when production falls below consumption.

Such units can mitigate grid challenges for the likes of wind farms when there is no wind and a planning report lodged with the application said that “environmentally friendly” BESS units “increase the reliability of the grid”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times