Statkraft subsidiary seeks planning for €60m wind farm

Statkraft oversees a number of wind farms

Sean Pollock

Cloncant Renewable Energy, a wind farm developer which is controlled by Norwegian state-owned company Statkraft, is set to apply for planning permission for a nine-turbine, 50-megawatt site in Co Offaly.

The Norwegian-backed company is seeking 10-year planning permission for the Cushaling Wind Farm with a 30-year operational life.

Statkraft said the proposed development, which could generate enough electricity to power more than 32,500 homes, would involve an investment of around €60m and could create 55 jobs.

According to the planning document, seen by the Sunday Independent, the proposed wind turbines would have a height of up to 187 metres.

A booklet from Statkraft covering the development said that if it is granted permission and access to the new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme, the wind farm could generate a community benefit fund in the region of €4m over 15 years.

The proposed 60-hectare site will include the townlands of Ballykilleen, Shean, Kilcumber, Edenderry, Cloncant and Cushaling. The development could consist of new internal access roads, upgrades to existing public roads, a new bridge and a battery energy storage facility.

One turbine is to be constructed across the county border in Kildare, subject to planning.

The developers are also planning a near 3,000-metre recreation trail, which will include outdoor fitness equipment.

Local Fine Gael councillor Noel Cribbin has expressed some concerns over the proposed development.

He claimed Statkraft had not engaged with local representatives. Cribbin also felt the development could be too close to the homes of residents.

A spokesman for Statkraft said the new wind farm would help to develop the region's mix of energy generation further.

"Locally generated electricity associated with peat harvesting has brought many benefits to Offaly and its hinterland over the years," he said. "Renewable energy projects such as these have the capacity to form a natural step in the evolution of locally generated electricity, ensuring these areas retain the ability to extract the significant economic and societal gain associated with electricity generation.

"In this context, such projects will not only have the capacity to make a real difference to our environmental future in terms of climate change, but also to make a real difference to the economic and social future of these areas.

"We intend to work actively with people in the local community to put in place a plan which will ensure that real and tangible benefits are delivered for the local area."

He added that Statkraft had received "a very encouraging response to its proposal" from local residents.

He said that the setback distance from people's homes was more than a kilometre, meaning the turbines would be "significantly further away from the nearest home" than guidelines recommend.

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