Meantime, Gaoithe Saor Teo, an Irish based group formed by the Layden family in Arigna, a region traditionally linked with coal mining in the North Roscommon and south Leitrim area, has secured a European Union grant under the Thermie energy development programme. The Laydens have been associated with coal mining for generations. Their project will consist of four Belgian made 300 kW turbines from HMZ WindMaster, to be sited on their own land.
Scottish Power, through local consultants SURE Engineering Europe, was successful for one of the larger sites with an installed capacity of 15 MW. The site is close to the scenic Barnesmore Gap in Donegal. Dan Hennevig, of SURE, says there is still a lot of ground work to be done before the 30 turbines are installed and commissioned. No specific makes are being mentioned as yet.
The New World Power 15 MW project in the south in Tipperary will be the most inland one of them all. The company's local agent, Joe O'Mahony, says their options on choice of technology remain open. At this stage more monitoring equipment will have to go on site and then the full planning application will follow.
German national Reiner Eschway, of North West Energy Systems, says his project will involve ten 500 kW turbines at Drumlough Hill, on the Inishowen peninsula, Ireland's most northerly point. He has not committed himself to any manufacturer but has had discussions with Nordtank and Vestas, both Danish suppliers. He has applied for planning permission for the wind farm and says he is hoping to get some local capital investment through the Inishowen Energy Co-op for the development.
At Colham Energy Ltd, Maureen De Pietro, has been granted power purchase agreements for two schemes. The larger project will be based in Leitrim at Tullymurray, where she expects to use 17 FloWind turbines from US company Advanced Wind Turbines. The FloWind is a vertical axis turbine. The second site, at Mullagh in Clare on the west coast, is planned to have eight Vestas 600 turbines. Colham Energy is already involved in wind energy on the island of Ireland. It expects to commission ten Vestas V39 500 kW turbines by the end of July at a Tyrone site in Northern Ireland. Colham has yet to seek planning permission on the two sites in the Republic; this will be followed by work on the grid connection and then the site work will begin, says De Pietro.
Peter Quillesh of Renewable Energy Systems Ltd (RES), a division of UK construction company Robert McAlpine, says monitoring of the two Donegal wind sites has been going on for the past ten months. The next stage is seeking planning permission for the wind farms. He expects that they will be using either 500 or 600 kW turbines, but it is too early to name makes. RES is already involved with one of the other successful AER applicants, B9 Energy Services in Northern Ireland, running three wind farms with B9, at Limavaddy, Cloughmills and Ballymena, using Nordtank and Vestas turbines.
B9 sees its contract for 7.5 MW in Donegal as the first project of several in Ireland. Based in Larne, B9 has not yet decided which make of turbine to install at its site at Binbane, near Glenties, but is considering either 15, 500 kW or 12, 600 kW machines, says the company's Ian Harvey. Work will begin immediately on an environmental impact assessment and planning application.
British based Western Windpower has close links with German turbine manufacturer Enercon. It has not yet decided whether to install the Enercon E30 model with a 26 m rotor for high wind speed sites or the E40 for its 5 MW scheme in Donegal. The project is the only one Western Windpower bid into the AER. "We were looking for a demonstration project because we feel our machine has a lot to offer the Irish grid," says the company, referring to Enercon's claims that its machine's electronic controls can help support rural electricity distribution networks.