Established wind farm – Bellacorick Wind Farm
Bord na Móna is the majority (88.5%) shareholder in Renewable Energy Ireland Ltd.(REIL), which established Ireland’s first commercial wind farm on cutaway blanket bog at Bellacorick, Co. Mayo in 1992.
The wind farm comprises 21 wind turbines, with a total installed capacity of 6.45 MW. 20 of the turbines are rated at 300 kW nominal output, and one at 450 kW. This means the wind farm can generate up to 17 million units (kWh) of electricity each year, and has an average availability in excess of 95%.
The Bellacorick area is comparatively remote, with a flat, open aspect. The availability of substantial additional areas of cutaway blanket bog, along with an existing 110 kV link to the former thermal power station site, means that there is scope to expand the wind farm capacity.
Wind Farm Projects
Location: Former milled peat production areas at Bellacorick, Co Mayo. Adjacent to the existing Bellacorick wind farm
No of turbines: 180
Total capacity: 300MW
Project status: Three wind monitoring masts were erected on site in 2002 and are still recording data on the wind regime. An additional monitoring mast was erected on the site in early 2011.
The Oweninny project will be developed in phases and a number of grid connection applications, totalling over 370 MW, were submitted to EirGrid. All of these were included in the list of wind farm applications processed in Gate 3. However, it is expected that building out the entire permitted capacity will require the development of a new high voltage transmission line into north west Mayo.
The first phase of the project will be developed as a joint venture between BnM PowerGen and the ESB. Grid connection offers for all phases of the project were received in early 2011 and it is hoped to connect Phase I of the project to the existing 110 kV network, once it is up-rated as part of the grid development programme in the area.
Location: Former milled peat production area, Mount Lucas, Co Offaly
No of turbines: 30
Total capacity: 80MW
Project status: A wind monitoring mast was erected at Mount Lucas in 2006, to capture data on the wind regime over the site, and facilitate output modelling and financial assessment. Planning permission for the project has been obtained and a grid connection offer has been signed with EirGrid, the Transmission System Operator, to allow the project to be connected to the National Grid.
The procurement process is well advanced and financial closure is expected on the project in mid-2011, with construction likely to start on the site before the end of 2011 or early 2012. It is expected that the wind farm will be in full commercial operation in late 2013.
Location: Templetuohy Bog, on the borders of counties Tipperary, Kilkenny and Laois
No of turbines: 16
Total capacity: 40MW
Project status: Full planning permission for the project was obtained in Q1 2011 and a grid connection offer has been signed with ESB Networks, as the project will be connected at the Distribution System level.
Under the Gate 3 connection process, it is likely that full firm grid connection may not be available until 2018. Nonetheless, physical connection to the grid should be possible well in advance of that date and procurement for the project is taking place in conjunction with the Mountlucas project.
It is hoped to commence construction on the site in late 2012, with commercial operation of the wind farm targeted for Q3 2014.