Landowners in the midlands are being offered €18,000 a year for each wind turbine they allow to be erected on their land.
Each giant turbine, which is 185m high, will need between 30 and 50 acres. But farmers will be able to continue to use the land around it.
A proposed lease agreement between Mainstream Power, one of two companies involved in a project to supply wind energy to the UK, and a landowner has been seen by The Irish Times.
It specifies that the landowner will receive a minimum payment of €18,000 per turbine or €6,000 per megawatt of installed electricity a year, with that figure rising according to the rate of inflation. Alternatively, landowners can opt for 3 per cent of sales of electricity generated by the turbines.
They will receive €3,500 for having given an option if planning permission has not been granted within 4½ years. If permission is granted, they will get €10,000 on signing the lease agreement. More than 200 people, including former taoiseach Brian Cowen, attended a meeting in Tullamore yesterday to discuss proposals that could mean 2,300 turbines generating three gigawatts of power being located in the midlands.
Chief executive of Element Power Tim Cowhig, the other firm involved in the proposals, said each turbine would generate “much more than €500,000” per annum in electricity and he anticipated more than 800 landowners will sign up for it.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte said the midlands was traditionally “one of the most economically deprived regions in the State”.