Wind energy industry responds to new draft planning guidelines

12 Dec 2019

The Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) has acknowledged the publication today of new draft Wind Energy Development Guidelines by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The guidelines will now go out to public consultation.

Dr David Connolly, CEO of IWEA, said: “Under the existing guidelines we have developed an industry that employs 4,000 people in Ireland, saves almost 3 million tonnes of CO2 every year – more than every other renewable technology combined – and cuts our annual fossil fuel import bill by more than €220 million.

“Although we have not yet had time to study the new draft guidelines in detail, it is immediately clear that they will make it more difficult and more expensive to develop renewable energy in Ireland and will significantly undermine the Government’s own Climate Action Plan.

“In particular, the proposed new noise levels, potentially the harshest in Europe, will cost every person in Ireland an extra €550 in order to hit our 2030 climate action targets.

“We look forward to participating constructively in this consultation in the hope that a final set of guidelines, based on scientific evidence, can find a more appropriate balance between the concerns of those opposed to wind farms and the need to take action on climate change.”

Increased cost

An analysis of the cost impact of the proposed noise limits in the draft Wind Energy Guidelines was carried out by energy consultants Everoze. This was based on detailed noise modelling of ten existing and planned wind farm sites which identified an average curtailment rate of 10 per cent from a low of 1.6 per cent to a high of 20 per cent.

On the basis of these figures Everoze calculated that the new guidelines would lead to an average increase in the price of wind generated electricity of 11.4 per cent.

This would increase the cost of providing the additional 4,000 MW of onshore wind required in the Climate Action Plan by approximately €2.7 billion over the next 25 years which works out at around €550 per person living in Ireland.