Bord na Móna and ESB announced a co-development agreement to develop solar power in four locations in Roscommon, Offaly and Kildare, which will provide renewable energy to power the equivalent of 150,000 homes.
This joint venture will access part of Bord na Móna’s land bank in strategic locations across the Midlands which is suitable for large scale solar energy projects and brings together the expertise of two leading commercial semi-state companies in renewable energy with significant projects that support Ireland’s energy transition.
Bord na Móna and ESB submitted a planning application for the development of a solar farm on a site at Timahoe North in Co. Kildare. Due to the nature of the proposed development, which requires the provision of 110 kV infrastructure which will form part of the national electricity transmission network, two separate planning applications were required.
One planning application was made to Kildare County Council under Section 34 of the Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2018 for the Solar Farm, battery storage compound and associated works. This application contains details of the recreational amenity proposals which will require the placement of approximately 5km of a 2.5m wide gravel walking track predominantly along a former machine track. The construction access track will be re-purposed to form part of the amenity walkway, in addition to being used for maintenance access during operation. A dedicated gated entrance and car parking area will also be provided for recreational use during the operational stage.
To view a copy of the planning application, see here.
The second planning application was made to An Bord Pleanála seeking permission for the 110-kV infrastructure and associated works in accordance with Section 182A of the same Act, as it is treated in planning terms as if it were strategic infrastructure. This approach has been confirmed following consultations with An Bord Pleanála under the provisions of section 182E of the Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2018.
To view a copy of that planning application, see here.
Kildare County Council issued a Request for Further Information (RFI) covering a range of topics regarding the proposed project. A response to the RFI was submitted to Kildare County Council on August 12th, 2019. The Planning Authority has determined that this RFI has resulted in significant additional information being submitted in relation to the proposed development. Detailed copies of the RFI submitted to Kildare County Council can be viewed in the following locations:
On the 22nd of October 2019, Kildare County Council refused planning permission for the proposed development. The refusal reason relates primarily to the Planning Authority’s concern that the proposed project could potentially have a residual negative impact on an Annex I habitat, namely North Atlantic Wet Heath. This decision has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.