Sunday, 28 March 2010

Tesco's massive turbines to eclipse tallest building

Retail giant Tesco is to be granted planning permission to construct two massive 300-feet high wind turbines at its distribution centre in north Dublin that, when completed, will be taller than the Republic's tallest building, The Elysian in Cork.

Fingal Co Council has just given the provisional go-ahead for the two wind turbines that will each have a 213-feet tall support base and 85-feet wide blades that will bring the total height of the structures to 91 metres. That's slightly under 300 feet and makes them about 30 feet higher than the Elysian and nearly half the height of the landmark Poolbeg power station chimneys in Dublin.

The council recently indicated its intention to approve planning permission for the development, which will help power the distribution centre, while previous opponents of the plan can now take their case to An Bord Pleanála.

It is understood that the turbines need to be so high in order to capture enough wind to generate a viable amount of electricity.

The towers are so tall that search and rescue helicopters will have to plot new routes to safely bypass the turbines during adverse weather, while air traffic control at Dublin Airport had concerns that two turbines would be picked up by its radar system. That had the potential for the huge structures to be mistaken for light aircraft.

Tesco originally applied for permission to construct the turbines in 2007, but withdrew that application before putting it to the council again last year.

Following concerns raised by both the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and Dublin Airport, Tesco engaged a consultancy to determine the potential impact. The report found that the turbines will occasionally generate so-called 'primary target' echoes on the airport's radar system, depending on weather conditions.

Primary targets are generated by land-based radar systems without any additional information being provided to the system by identification equipment on board aircraft.

The report also found that on 'rare occasions', the turbines could produce what are known as 'false plots' - which are radar signals received that don't correspond to the actual position of a real aircraft.

However, the major concerns expressed by the IAA were addressed.

Locals branded the plan as inappropriate and said that solar panels would have been better.

The Irish Independent

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