Gaelectric has received planning approval for a wind farm at Cregganconroe (Northern Ireland)

Gaelectric, the Irish renewable energy company, has announced that it has received planning approval for a 11.5 Megawatt (MW) wind farm at Cregganconroe, Pomeroy, Co Tyrone.

The wind farm development will consist of five wind turbines and will be capable of generating energy equivalent to the average annual electricity consumption of approximately 6500 homes.

The Cregganconroe wind farm will require a total investment of approximately €22 million, and is just one of a number of wind power projects that Gaelectric currently has in planning in Northern Ireland, which together total approximately 130 MW.

Making this announcement, Brendan McGrath, CEO of Gaelectric, said: ‘We have been working on planning for a range of sites in Tyrone and Antrim for a number of years. The Cregganconroe approval is a further important step for Gaelectric and represents our second planning success in Northern Ireland this year.’

Commenting on the role of the Northern Ireland Executive, Mr. McGrath said: ‘It has been very helpful over the last few years to be able to deal with the Northern Ireland Executive, which was at all times open to the benefits of wind energy and to finding a solution that would work for the area. We appreciate their support.’

Mr. McGrath said: ‘Gaelectric plans to continue its high level of investment in Northern Ireland over the coming years. To achieve this we need an efficient planning system that has sufficient resources to deal with the current workload. It is critical that Planning Service staff that have now built up a level of hard-learned expertise in this specialist area are not now redeployed in the current NI civil service reorganisation. Policy makers must insure that Renewable Energy, which is an indigenous industry, is properly resourced. Only by investing in this area will its green jobs potential be realised in a timely manner ’.

Gaelectric completed an extensive consultation programme to update local communities on the proposal. A locally administered community fund amounting to £210,000 for community projects will be set up which confirms Gaelectric’s commitment to fully engage with its local communicates. Gaelectric has also committed to spending up to € 5 million in construction and operation costs with local companies.

Other benefits of the wind farm include – greenhouse gas emission avoidance, enhancement of security of energy supply, provision of up to 20 construction jobs, with the opportunity for employment in the operation and management of the site, and the provision of an educational resource for local schools. The project is also in line with the aspirations of Northern Ireland energy policy.

Gaelectric currently has 25 wind power projects at different stages of development on the island of Ireland. Gaelectric’s first wind farm in Roscommon is expected to be commissioned by year end 2010.

Gaelectric is a group of companies, each active in the different fields of Renewable Power Generation and Energy Storage with experienced teams specialized in all aspects of project planning, permitting, finance, engineering and management. Our engineers and development teams have over 75 years of experience in the international Renewable Energy sector. Gaelectric is active in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and North America where Gaelectric operates regional development offices.