Priest, students among owners at community-developed windfarm

Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte welcomes Tipperary initiative and says new guidance for large scale farms is imminent


Ireland’s first community-developed wind farm, whose registered owners include students, farmers and a local priest, was opened in Co Tipperary yesterday.

Located in Templederry, the wind farm is already producing “green” energy and selling it to the national grid. The farm has a capacity to power 3,500 homes per annum, or the equivalent of the local town of Nenagh.

The height of the turbines is 64m, with a blade radius of 35m giving a maximum blade height of 99m. This is considerably smaller than a number of proposed commercial wind farms earmarked for the midlands.

Performing the official opening yesterday, Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte drew a distinction between the community initiative which produces electricity for domestic consumption and the “separate question” of developing renewable energy for export.

Planning policy
Mr Rabbitte said he was putting in place a national planning policy for renewable energy export. He said it would “ provide an opportunity for all stakeholders including local authorities, potential project developers and local communities, to be consulted and have an input into the national policy for wind export”.

In welcoming the Templederry wind farm, Mr Rabbitte commended the local initiative and resolve “in successfully establishing Ireland’s first community-owned wind farm”.

He said: “This project demonstrates the potential of local communities to harness their own local resources for their own benefit as well as contributing to important national goals – Ireland has signed up to demanding commitments at EU level and beyond as to the use of green energy”.