Element Power who plan to build 150 wind turbines in Laois, are reporting ‘constructive feedback’ from their talks with neighbours of potential sites.
The company behind ‘Greenwire’ began meeting fenceline neighbours in January. They have already agreed land lease options with hundreds of landowners, some in areas outside those designated as suitable for windfarms by Laois County Council, leading to anger and public protest.
The company will hold public information days before going for planning permission in early 2014, claiming potential for 10,000 new jobs over three years.
Greenwire plan to build 450 turbines across five midland counties, to supply the British grid.
Chief Executive of EP Ireland Tim Cowhig spoke during last week’s Wind Energy conference in the Tullamore Court Hotel, while outside, local protesters demonstrated.
“Most fence-line families we have met so far are positively disposed to Greenwire. We believe that the vast majority of people will support this once in possession of the full facts. Most people whom we have engaged with seem broadly satisfied that this is a tremendous opportunity, providing Ireland with an opportunity to generate a new export industry from a free and surplus natural resource,” he said.
He said some criticism is unfounded.
“Opposition to development of almost any kind will always exist, though in the case of wind-farm criticism, some of it is totally unfounded and misleading, and gives rise to unnecessary and unjustified concerns. Issues such as noise or shadow flicker can be addressed so as not to cause a problem. Turbines will not be developed within 500 metres of a residence,” said Cowhig.