A €100 million, 400ft-high wind farm planned for west Clare is to bypass the planning process.
It follows a Bord Pleanála ruling that the plan by Clare Coastal Wind Power for a 46-turbine wind farm on two sites near the coast is considered strategic infrastructure and, as a result, will be considered by the appeals board.
The sites for the wind farm are located 1km south of Doonbeg and 3km to the north of Kilrush.
The plan is 50% larger than the largest planning application for a wind farm to date in the mid-west, granted at Mount Callan, where planning permission was given for 30 turbines last month by An Bord Pleanála.
Clare Coastal Wind Power had its first pre-application consultation in August last year with An Bord Pleanála.
According to the inspector’s report in the case, the applicants state that the plan would be of strategic economic or social importance to the state or the region in terms of benefits to the local economy in providing electricity; the annual reduction of 207,000 tonnes of CO2 and displacement of use of fossil fuel generation of an annual energy equivalent production from 77,280 tonnes of oil.
The applicants also said that "the development would contribute substantially to the fulfilment of any of the objectives in the National Spatial Strategy or in any regional planning guidelines by assisting in meeting goals in relation to sustainable energy".
The applicants must now prepare and lodge an Environmental Impact Statement and application with An Bord Pleanála, where third parties will also have opportunities to make submissions.
To date, planning has been granted for 100 turbines in west Clare.