Work begins on country's largest -- 72 MW project in Donegal

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Work has begun on the largest wind farm in Ireland, Airtricity's 72 MW project in Donegal. The 38 wind turbines will be installed at Meentycat, north of Ballybofey. Meentycat will be almost three times larger than Airtricity's 25 MW Kingsmountain project, the largest in Ireland so far. The project started life as a series of different developments, with the company obtaining five sets of planning consent for the five neighbouring properties. The turbines are to be supplied by Bonus: 23 machines are to be rated at 2.3 MW and 15 at 1.3 MW. Output will be sold under a long term power purchase agreement to Airtricity's electricity retail business, which supplies 30,000 customers. The sales contract allows Airtricity to use project financing for construction of the EUR 80 million project. Airtricity also has a permit for the high voltage transmission line connecting the wind farm to the national grid. The company claims the wind farm will help stabilise the voltage in Donegal by providing electricity where it is badly needed. The wind plant is expected to be completed in early 2005.

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