17 May 2022

Midlands wind farm on former bog will deliver 'jobs, energy and amenity' claims Laois Offaly Minister

Offaly wind farm project will deliver 'jobs, energy and amenity'

Minister of State Pippa Hackett visits the site

A wind farm project on a former Bord na Móna bog not far from Laois in Offaly will deliver 'jobs, energy and amenity' according to a Laois Offaly Minister of State Pippa Hackett.

The Green Party Senator who has a seat at the Government Cabinet table welcomed progress on the Cloncreen Wind Farm Project which will be owned by taxpayers.

Minister Hackett has highlighted what she claimed were the gains that would flow from to Offaly and the rest of the Midlands.

Bord na Móna received planning permission three years ago for the 21-turbine wind farm located on its peatlands in east Offaly. The project is expected to cost €100 million. Up to 100 are expected to be working directly on the wind farm by the end of 2021.

“The Cloncreen Project is a terrific example of how moving from a brown to a green economy can benefit everyone,” said Minsiter Hackett, following a visit to the site.

When it is complete, it is claimed that the Cloncreen Wind Farm will supply 55,000 homes with renewable energy.  Expressions of interest are now being accepted through Bord na Mona for a range of roles in its development.

“I am really proud of the part the Midlands is playing in helping us meet our renewable energy targets,” said Senator Hackett. “In the past, these peatlands supported many Offaly families through peat extraction. Now, even though extraction has finished, they continue to do so.  

“It was wonderful to see the plans for rehabilitation, as well as the regeneration that is already taking place. This land is being revived to create a healthier environment, and a healthier source of energy. And, on top of all this, we are going to see great amenities and high-quality jobs," she said.

The wind farm will have a footprint of just 4% of the site area, while the remaining 96% will be rehabilitated peatland and amenity.

“The windfarm footprint will only take up a tiny percentage of the site area here, and the plans for the rest of it are really exciting,” added Minsiter Hackett who lives near Geashill.

“I welcome Bord na Móna’s commitment to deliver a range of benefits for the local community and other visitors. These will include the provision of 20km of walkways and cycleways through the rehabilitated peatland site, a site which will also provide an extensive new habitat for native plant and animal species.

“I know Bord na Móna estimates that over the entire Midlands area their Climate Action projects will deliver at least €26million in community gain for local and community projects by 2030, and I expect a fair chunk of that to be realised here in the Cloncreen area. It is wonderful to see that being achieved by a project which also helps deal with the climate emergency, cuts carbon emissions and delivers on green energy targets," said the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture.

Bord na Móna says the wind farm is located on Cloncreen bog in eastern Co. Offaly, about 4.5 kilometres southwest of Edenderry and 4km east of Bord na Móna’s 84 MW Mountlucas Wind Farm. The villages of Clonbullogue and Rhode are located approximately 2.0 km south east and 7 km north-west of the site.  

Cloncreen bog comprises of approximately 960 hectares (c. 2,400 acres) and was formerly utilised for peat harvesting by Bord na Móna to provide fuel for the Edenderry peat fired power station. The maximum permanent footprint of the development measures 40.1 hectares, which represents approximately 4% of the site.

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