First Spire-sized turbine gets go-ahead

Fans and opponents of wind technology will soon be able to get a first-hand look at a wind turbine after a single, 88m (290 ft ) turbine has received planning permission on a site between Mullingar and Delvin.

The turbine is to be erected in a tract of forestry owned by Sebastian Rooney from Kells, in Dryderstown, about 5km west of Delvin, about 1km north of the N52.

The plan is to build a single, electricity-generating wind turbine with a hub height of 64m, and a rotor diameter of 48m, although it is unlikely the eastern reaches of the county shall be seeing this technology grace its horizons until September 2014 at the very earliest.

Once permission has been granted, the engineers must verify the projected wind speeds onsite, with at least 12 months of actual data from an anemometer on a 50m mast before they can secure the totality of the grants required to complete the estimated €1m project.

Assuming no appeal is lodged with An Bord Pleanala before June 21, the engineers can begin to put up the windspeed mast, and erect the actual turbine itself as soon as practicable after the 12 months of data collection has elapsed.

It will be built by Jennings O’Donovan, a Sligo-based firm of engineers, for Reforce Energy Ltd, a subsidiary of the Cork-based company Kedco, who specialise in renewable energy technology.

Reforce Energy had been a renewable energy development company focused on small-scale renewable projects across various technologies before its takeover.

The company’s key markets are Britain, Ireland, and the North, where it has an active pipeline of more than 60 projects with a capacity of over 40MW at various stages of development.

Kedco executive director Steve Dalton (34 ), the man behind this project, was previously head of Ulster Bank’s project finance department with responsibility for the financing of renewable energy projects, before he co-founded Reforce with Tim O’Keeffe in 2011.


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