Gaelectric has officially cut the ribbon on its £13.4m Cloonty wind farm in Country Antrim, the renewable energy developer’s fourth operating onshore wind facility in Northern Ireland.
Opened yesterday, the facility comprises four Enercon wind turbines totalling 9.2MW of capacity that are estimated to provide 21,300MWh of electricity a year – enough to power more than 5,000 average homes.
Located between Derrykeighan and Bushmills, the facility brings the firm’s total operating capacity in Northern Ireland to 140MW, representing a total investment of nearly £170m, and it is expected to produce CO2 equivalent savings of more than 9,000 tonnes annually.
The Cloonty wind farm is one of a £74m portfolio of five such Gaelectric facilities to have reached financial close in the past year, with all expected to become operational before the end of 2017.
“This opening marks yet another important milestone for our business and further strengthens Gaelectric’s platform in the energy market.” said Patrick McClughan, head of corporate affairs for Gaelectric Developments Ltd. “This consolidates Gaelectric’s position as the largest indigenous renewable energy company in Northern Ireland, and we are proud to make a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s renewable energy targets.”
Back in August, Gaelectric also secured a £38m funding package for a further two onshore wind farms totalling 23.4MW, which are earmarked to begin generating electricity in the second quarter of next year.
Over the next few years Gaelectric said it aims to build its Irish onshore wind capacity to 400MW, alongside energy storage, biomass and solar developments.
In related news, 1,000 pinwheels were planted in Westminster’s Parliament Square yesterday morning as part of a demonstration designed to highlight public support for wind power in ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement.
Campaigners from climate change charity 10:10 said they took bouquets of pinwheels to HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) along with a petition signed by 18,000 wind power supporters.
According to 10:10, the petition called on the government to ensure onshore wind power is able to compete with other forms of electricity generation and re-evaluate existing subsidies that are offered for fossil fuel power stations.