The proposed development will give rise to a range of benefits at different levels.
At a Local Level, benefits arising from the construction and operation of the proposed wind farm will include:
- Continued delivery of the Mid Shannon Wilderness Park by Bord na Móna.
- Upgrading of the road infrastructure in the vicinity of the wind farm (as required).
- Amenity and Recreational Facilities.
- The provision of a Community Benefit Fund.
- Payment of taxes from the project, and dividends from Bord na Móna to the State.
- Substantial rates paid to the relevant Local Authority
A large wind farm development of this scale would typically support 100-120 jobs at peak construction. There will also be indirect employment created through the sub-supply of a wide range of products and services including: gravel and graded stone for roads and hard stands, concrete and steel for turbine bases, building materials for sub stations, haulage of components from the ports to the site, accommodation, legal and financial services. Once complete the project will also support a number of long term, high quality technical jobs in operations and maintenance.
Amenity and Recreational Facilities
A high-level amenity plan will accompany the planning application and we would welcome any feedback or proposals the community may have with respect to amenity. A good example of one of our existing wind farm amenity facilities is Mountlucas Wind Farm in North Offaly. The site consists of a 10km walkway / cycleway around the wind farm in addition to interpretative signage, outdoor exercise equipment and a learning hub which is utilised by various school and college groups for educational purposes and day trips. In 2021, the wind farm welcomed over 50,000 visits to its amenity facilities.
Community Benefit Fund
Similar to our existing wind farms, it is envisaged that an annual Community Benefit Fund will be set up for the proposed Derryadd Wind Farm once the project is operational. As the project is at an early stage of its development, the exact nature and structure of a proposed Community Benefit Fund is not known at this time, albeit we would envisage it being similar in type to our existing Community Benefit Funds which include:
- A Community Gain Scheme – providing funding to local community and not-for-profit organisations
- A Near Neighbour Fund – providing an annual electricity contribution and once off support to carry out energy efficiency measures and/ or education support to residents within a prescribed distance of a turbine
At a Regional Level, the new development will help to supply the rising demand for electricity, resulting from renewed economic growth in the Midlands region. During construction, additional employment will be created in the region through the supply of services and materials to the wind farm
At a National Level, the new development will play a significant role in contributing to the country’s national renewable electricity production and carbon emissions reduction targets by 2030, while also supporting a growing economy and population. During operation, the wind farm will eliminate the need to generate the equivalent amount of electricity from fossil fuels, and it will therefore help to reduce total national greenhouse gas emissions. In doing so, it will reduce our dependence on external energy sources, help improve our energy security of supply and make a major contribution to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan, which has set a target of 8GW of onshore wind capacity by 2030