Intense rainfall hit Co. Waterford yet again last week causing widespread flooding. This was the third Status Orange weather alert in six weeks, during which strong winds and heavy rain have battered the southeast, leading to waterlogged roads, dangerous driving conditions, damaged homes and the closure of Plunkett train station.
Scientists are united: these increasingly common extreme weather conditions, which are affecting us all, are intensifying due to climate change.
It’s natural, free and in plentiful supply – wind energy is key to Ireland hitting its renewable energy goals
To help tackle global warming, the Government’s Climate Action Plan commits the country to generating 80% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, which requires an additional 4,000 MW of onshore wind development. FuturEnergy Ireland’s mission is to contribute to Ireland’s renewable energy goals by developing projects such as Scart Mountain Wind Farm in Co. Waterford.
FuturEnergy Ireland is a joint venture company owned on a 50:50 basis by Coillte and ESB that is actively driving Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy. The FuturEnergy Ireland team has a strong track record of developing and delivering Irish wind energy projects in a responsible manner.
Scart Mountain Wind Farm, which is located 4km northeast of Cappoquin, is in the early stages of development. The project team is undertaking initial site studies and environmental assessments which will inform a preliminary design layout, the results of which will be shared with the local community as soon as they are available.
This initial stage will be followed by in-depth studies on topics including hydrology, ecology, landscape/visual, noise, shadow flicker, telecoms, traffic, soil and archeology alongside further community engagement activities. The results of these studies and engagements will be used to inform an appropriate turbine layout that will be submitted as part of the planning application.
Last month, two local Community Liaison Officers, John O’Halloran and Liam Cleary, introduced the project to the community by delivering an introductory newsletter to local homeowners.
This marked the start of a comprehensive community engagement programme that will include newsletter and website updates, a webinar and a community engagement clinic, together providing local community members several ways to learn about and discuss the project with the team.
John and Liam value all community feedback and are available to answer any queries about the project in person, by telephone or via email.
“We are out on the ground meeting locals, answering questions and gathering their feedback at this early stage of development,” said Community Liaison Officer John O’Halloran. “This is an important part of the consultation process and incredibly valuable to the project team and to the local community.
“At FuturEnergy Ireland, we pride ourselves on open, honest dialogue with all stakeholders, from local homeowners and councillors to businesses and community groups. We are here to answer your queries, so please get in touch.”
The project would bring local benefits too. If Scart Mountain Wind Farm receives a planning grant and becomes operational, it would provide a substantial local Community Benefit Fund and significant rates contributions to Waterford County Council. It also has the potential to provide recreational amenities and employment opportunities.
The Scart Mountain project is being led by FuturEnergy Ireland’s Emer Campbell. “We will share an initial turbine layout in the next newsletter, scheduled for Spring 2023,” she said.
“This newsletter and updated FAQ will also seek to address the questions we are receiving from community members. Detailed environmental and engineering studies continue and baseline noise monitoring begins in the coming weeks. We are looking forward to sharing the results of these studies in due course.
“Not only does the renewable energy generated by wind farms reduce carbon emissions, it also helps to build Ireland’s energy security and independence, which will mean lower fuel bills for all.”
If you have a query about the Scart Mountain Wind Farm proposal or require more information, please call Community Liaison Officers John O’Halloran on 087 742 7293 or Liam Cleary on 087 967 1981, or email [email protected]. For regular updates visit www.scartmountainwindfarm.ie.