Barr Cregg wind farm will inject £7.77m: RES

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The energy company RES this week received consent to go ahead with its seven-turbine wind farm between Slaghtmanus and Claudy.

The renewables firm said the farm will generate enough electricity to power thousands of homes and projected it would lead to a £7.77million cash injection to the local economy.

RES’s proposal for the farm at Barr Cregg near Ervey has been in the pipeline for the past seven years.

Yet the project has run into opposition from the Slaughtmanus Community Conservation Group who are opposed to the massing of turbines on the hills above Derry.

The energy firm’s application to develop the farm was originally refused by Derry City & Strabane District Council in July 2015. RES appealed but this was dismissed by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) in June 2017.

This, however, was quashed in the High Court last year and now the PAC has given RES the green light to proceed.

Welcoming the approval RES said the project will be able to provide electricity for more than 12,200 homes – 21.1 per cent of the households in Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

Fraser Merry, Head of Wind Projects, RES, commented: “Barr Cregg Wind Farm has high levels of local support and will make a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.

“We anticipated £7.77 million will be spent during construction and £6 million of inward investment in Derry and Strabane District Council area in the form of business rates.

“At RES, we have a track record of using local contractors to deliver our projects and look forward to working with businesses in the area to deliver Barr Cregg Wind Farm.”

Recently, there has been some push back in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area against the proliferation of wind farms in the district.

Last year the Department for the Economy reported that Derry and Strabane was doing all the heavy lifting in terms of the provision of green energy in the North.

It was revealed that the Council area was providing 31 per cent of total renewable electricity generation in the North. RES has said the benefits of wind energy to consumers is clear.

A recent independent study by Baringa Partners, it said, has shown that renewable electricity from wind has delivered a payback of £4 to every consumer, every year, since the year 2000 – driving down wholesale costs and reducing fuel imports.

Baringa’s ‘The Wind Dividend: How wind energy pays back to NI’, published in April, concluded: “Our analysis indicates that the deployment of 1.4 GW of wind generation in Northern Ireland between 2000 and 2020 will result in a total net benefit to consumers of £0.1bn (£135 million to be exact).

“This cost is paid by all electricity consumers across the residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial consumers. To put this cost in context, this equates to a net benefit of about £4 per person per year.”