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Donegal wind farms go-ahead

Planning permission has now been granted to three separate development groups for wind farms in County Donegal at the north western end of the Irish Republic. These new projects are located at Cark and Barnesmore, close to the centre of the county and at Drumlough Hill on the Inish Owen peninsula, the most northerly tip of Donegal. The Cark project is to be managed by B9 Energy of Larne in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on behalf of England's Renewable Energy Systems (RES). Initially RES had applied for planning permission for two 7.5 MW projects on separate sites in the county, for which they had secured supply contracts from the national power company, the Electricity Supply Board. These contracts were granted under Ireland's market stimulation programme for wind energy, the Alternative Energy Requirement (AER). Planning permission was given for Cark, but refused for the second site. However, permission was subsequently obtained for the placing of the second project adjacent to the first at Cark, thus giving a total of 15 MW at the site. The project at Barnesmore was proposed by Scottish Power and the 15 MW wind farm will consist of 25 Vestas turbines, a breakthrough order says the company. Sure Engineering, based in Dublin, is involved in the project's development. The last of the County Donegal trio, at Drumlough Hill, is a 5 MW project proposed by North Wind Energy Systems. Elsewhere in Ireland, permission has been granted to Gaoithe Saor for a 1.2 MW wind farm at Altgowan in Co Leitrim. Appropriately, in the Gaelic language Gaoithe Saor means "free winds."

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