Consultation on Windfarms welcome

Mulherin welcomes public consultation on windfarms Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Michelle Mulherin, has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD, of the commencement of the first phase of public consultation on the proposed Renewable Energy Export Policy and Development Framework.

“The buy-in of local communities is vital for Ireland’s transition to renewable energy. This consultation process will give individuals and communities the opportunity to give their viewpoint on how we should develop national policy to realise our significant wind energy potential. “Community acceptance is essential in order for us to develop our indigenous natural resource of wind energy. There is significant potential for Ireland to export electricity to Britain and continental Europe. And there is excellent potential for the use of wind generated energy in our domestic market. This can go some way to reduce our massive dependency on fossil fuels, most of which we import and upon which we rely for 95% of our energy needs.

“One of the biggest challenges to the development of our green economy is the acceptance of local communities. There needs to be a national dialogue about why we need to construct energy infrastructure; how it can be achieved safely with minimum impact on the community and our environment; and what the real benefits to local communities and the greater population can be, including community gain and attracting investment that will lead to job creation in the short and longer terms.

“In a related development, Minister Hogan has confirmed to me that the Department of Environment is currently undertaking a targeted review of the Wind Energy Guidelines 2006 focusing on noise, proximity and shadow flicker. As part of this process the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has commissioned a study to examine the significance of noise related to onshore wind farms.

“The public will be notified about the consultation period through media notices and a copy of the draft guidelines will be made available on the Department’s website. Once the consultation period is closed, the submissions received on the draft guidelines will be considered and taken into account in the final form of the guidelines.”