Galway to boast biggest wind farm in the country

A multi-million euro financing deal has given the green light to Ireland’s largest wind farm already well under construction on bog land between Oughterard and Moycullen.

SSE plc and Coillte have jointly completed financing for €176m for the construction of the second and final stage of Galway Wind Park.

The financing deal is the largest-ever for a single wind energy asset in Ireland, with work earmarked for completion sometime next year.

The project, located south-west of Oughterard, is set to be Ireland’s largest wind farm; the cluster consists of four permitted wind farms – at Cloosh, Lettercraffroe, Seecon and Uggool.

SSE Generation will operate the wind farm which will have the capacity to generate enough green energy to power 84,000 homes, equivalent to almost 90% of the homes in the county.

A total of 58 wind turbines are being installed with a maximum export capacity of 169MW.

The wind farm is being delivered in two phases – the SSE-owned Phase 1 (64MW), which began construction last February, comprises 22 turbines installed at the Uggool and Lettercraffroe sites; and the SSE/Coillte Phase 2 (105MW) comprises 36 turbines installed at Cloosh and Seecon.

The project has not been without its controversies however – four years ago, a senior inspector with An Bord Pleanala recommended that the development be refused on the basis of the environmental impact it would have in the area – a recommendation that was overruled by the executive of the Planning Appeals Board.

Local fisheries interests were vehemently opposed to the development as were An Taisce on the grounds that it would have an adverse effect on a highly sensitive landscape and on wildlife. But An Bord Pleanala ruled that the wind farm development would not seriously affect the Connemara Bog Complex, which is a special area of conservation.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.