Tuesday 1 November 2011

Viewing platform planned for wind farm in Clare

A 360-degree viewing platform, with panoramic coastal views, will form part of a planned €100 million wind farm.

But construction of the wind farm in west Clare will result in population decline, a depreciation of property values and a net reduction in employment and a drop in tourism revenue, an opposition group has claimed.

Clare Coastal Wind Power Ltd has lodged a planning application directly to An Bord Pleanála to develop a 45-turbine wind farm spanning the three parishes of Doonbeg, Kilrush and Cooraclare.

The plans include the construction of a visitor viewing platform at the northern most turbine as part of the development which would be the first of its kind in Ireland and one of only six worldwide.

It would allow people to take in an extensive view of the Atlantic Ocean to the north and views of the wind farm to the south.

Project promoters believe it would become a major tourist attraction.

The developers also have plans to develop an interpretative centre in Doonbeg on the generation of different forms of energy.

If planning permission and grid connection is secured, it is estimated the project would result in about 250 construction jobs over a two-year period, at least 10 permanent jobs and another four to six jobs associated with the proposed viewing platform and interpretative centre.

The company has finalised rental agreements with 80 land owners. Earlier this year, the company stated 70 local landowners at that stage would be paid €15m in total over a 25-year period.

However, the newly-formed Rural Protection Group, has claimed there is no evidence that people view wind turbines as a tourist attraction. They stated that the majority of independent evidence indicated that areas with large scale wind turbine developments suffer a sharp and permanent drop in tourism and plummeting property values.

Irish Examiner


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