RENEWABLE energy generation and energy storage group, Gaelectric, was due to officially open its £20million Carn Hill windfarm near Knockagh on Wednesday (May 8).
Carn Hill, located just off the Slievetrue Road, is the first fully operational windfarm in Gaelectric’s Northern Ireland portfolio.
The company’s investment in the area includes the establishment of a special fund worth more than a quarter of a million pounds to support local community projects.
The 13.8 Megawatt (MW) windfarm, which consists of six wind turbines with a blade tip height of almost 100m, will generate sufficient renewable power to meet the electricity demand of nearly 8,000 homes on an annual basis.
In addition to benefiting the local economy through the generation of renewable energy, the project also created over 30 full-time and part-time jobs during the development and construction phase of the project.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s official opening, Barry Gavin, Gaelectric group finance director, said: “The Carn Hill windfarm contributes significantly to the generation capacity of our Northern Ireland portfolio which opens up a range of strategically important options for Gaelectric. The windfarm allows us to make the transition from being a pre-revenue renewable energy development group to an energy development and operating group with significant assets across the island of Ireland producing renewable power, generating turnover and cash for the group and further returns for our shareholders and investors.”
Patrick McClughan, the company’s commercial manager in Northern Ireland, added: “The Carn Hill windfarm development is the first of a number of renewable energy projects that Gaelectric is progressing in Northern Ireland. The official opening marks a major milestone for our business and further strengthens Gaelectric’s platform in the energy market. It will assist us in providing 13.8MW’s towards Northern Ireland’s renewable energy targets.
“Our total permitted portfolio now stands at 123MW in Northern Ireland which firmly concretes Gaelectric’s position as the largest indigenous renewable energy company in Northern Ireland.”
He continued: “Gaelectric has completed an extensive consultation programme to update local communities on the Carn Hill project and a locally administered community fund amounting to approximately £255,000 has been established to support community projects in the area.”
Gaelectric currently has eight windfarm projects at various stages of development across Northern Ireland.