Bord na Móna has embarked upon a strategy of diversification beyond its traditional peat-based businesses.
As part of this diversification, it intends to develop a portfolio of electricity generating plants - including wind farms, flexible gas fired generation and peaking units. In line with this, Bord na Móna has selected some of its existing cutaway peatlands near Templetuohy for the development of a new wind farm. The proposed site, known as Templetuohy bog, is located in parts of Counties Kilkenny, Laois and Tipperary between Templetuohy and Johnstown.
The company has been involved in peat production operations at the site since the 1950s and parts of the bog are still in active peat production. Those areas of the site that are still in active peat production will not be affected by the development of the wind farm and peat production will continue as normal.
The proposed development will be known as Bruckana Wind Farm after one of the townlands within the site where some of the turbines will be located. It will have a generating capacity of approximately 40MW and will comprise of 16 wind turbines, access trackways, crane hard-standings, underground cables between the turbines, a 38kV electricity substation and a 38kV overhead line to Lisheen substation.
When operational, it will improve the geographical distribution of wind energy facilities nationally and, hence, contribute to a more balanced input of wind energy to the grid in support of the Government’s 40% target for electricity from renewable energy sources.
This will help to ensure that by 2020 40% of electricity generated in the state will come from renewable sources.
An application for connection of the wind farm to the national grid has been made to EirGrid. It is included in the Gate 3 list of projects to be processed for connection and it is scheduled to get an offer for connection to the system towards the end of 2010. Planning applications are currently being prepared for the project and will be submitted to Kilkenny, Laois and Tipperary North Riding Local Authorities.
As part of the planning process, an environmental impact study (EIS) is being carried out into the potential impacts of the proposed development on the local environment. A public information session was held in Templetuohy on 9th December.
It is expected that the construction of the new wind farm will take place over an 18-month period, with up to 25 workers employed on the project at peak. Once in operation, the farm will support a small number of operation and maintenance jobs.
When operational, the farm will generate enough electricity to supply the needs of approximately 20,000 homes with green electricity and it will prevent the emission every year of 55,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases. In doing so, it will help to combat climate change and contribute to the country achieving its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets as well as contributing to the achievement of the EU’s mandatory renewable energy target set for Ireland.
Bord na Móna expects to submit the planning application for the project in early 2010.