Renewable energy industry runs into more resistance in ‘saturated’ Derry and Strabane

NI's wind farms produced 83% of the Province's green energy last year
NI's wind farms produced 83% of the Province's green energy last year

The renewable energy industry ran into further resistance in Derry and Strabane when permission for another wind farm was knocked back by the Council’s Planning Committee.

RES’s bid to erect five new turbines at Meenamullan in Killeter was recommended for refusal by planning officers.

It was, they declared, contrary to planning policy because, if approved, it would have an “unacceptable adverse impact on the visual amenity and landscape character of the area through the number, scale, size and siting of turbines and the cumulative impact when taken into consideration with other wind farm development in the area”.

Jennifer McCorry, an agent for RES, contended that the development would not have a significant impact on the landscape as it was located in an “existing cluster” of farms.

She told the committee that five new turbines in the area would only contribute 0.01 per cent additional visual impact based on a study area of 15 kilometres. Ms. McCorry said RES wanted to invest £1.4m in the capital project and that 30 per cent of this would go to local suppliers.

Sinn Féin Councillor Dan Kelly, however, said he would not be supporting the scheme based on the officers’ recommendation, and because Derry and Strabane had already reached “saturation” point.

“Windfarms have been at saturation point for some time,” said Colr. Kelly.

He added: “We’ve blazed a trail and are a net exporter.

DUP Alderman Hilary McClintock agreed: “We have reached saturation point and have done our bit for renewable energy.”

Last year a Department for the Economy (DfE) report estimated that 97 renewable energy sites in DC&SDC were generating 31 per cent of the total 2,324,674 MWhs being generated across the North.