How has this proposal evolved?
The location under consideration was initially identified following a review of areas that could provide suitable distances from houses and which were identified within the Laois County Development Plan. At the initial stages of consideration, designers drafted a project outline that would maximise the wind energy potential of the site. Staying in line with the guidelines, the following initial assumptions were made: The initial distances to houses were taken at 500m (subsequently increased), shadow flicker curtailment was taken at the maximum allowable levels, the turbine height was taken at 169m. The resulting layout consisted of 16 turbines with a potential electricity output of approximately 45MW.
Placing local appropriateness as a fundamental consideration, a review of this design was carried out in terms of commonly received community feedback during which, factors such as distance to houses, number of turbines, shadow flicker and noise were considered. It was found that it was possible to increase the distances to houses, reduce turbine numbers and improve general performance levels of the proposed wind farm by increasing the tip height by 16m. Essentially, the redesign resulted in 8 turbines being dropped from consideration and the distance to houses increased to 740m and over. The design changes are set out in the following table:
|Initial Consideration||Current Design Proposal|
|Distance to houses||500m||740m|
|Shadow Flicker||In line with guidelines||Eliminated – No Shadow Flicker|
|Number of turbines||16||8|
|Potential Output (approx.)||45mw||40mw|
|Revised layout benefits||N/A||Further from houses
50% reduction in turbine numbers
Optimal design for general performance
Less construction traffic
Significant community benefit
Having established a working design layout, environmental surveys were carried out to ensure the suitability of the location. Many factors are considered as a part of the assessment process including the local environment, geology, hydrology etc. These surveys are ongoing and will form part of the planning application once submitted to the planning authority.
In addition to the above, we had some initial conversations with people living in the local area regarding how this project could work best and deliver the most benefit possible to the area. As part of this ongoing engagement, we would like people not only to consider the design of the proposal being brought forward but also how funding from the development could play an important role in assisting the development of the area in the coming years.
The more feedback that you provide to us, the more potential this proposal has to be of benefit to you!