Belfast Telegraph

£5m wind farm gets green light

By Brian Lovett

The Planning Service has given the green light to a new £5 million wind farm that will bring 30 jobs to Newtownabbey.

And local councillors have welcomed news that the renewable energy firm behind the project has earmarked £210,000 for community projects in the area.

Irish company Gaelectric last Thursday (February 18) announced it had received planning approval for the 14 megawatt wind farm at Carn Hill.

It said the site will consist of six wind turbines and will be capable of generating energy equivalent to the average electricity consumption of approximately 8200 homes on an annual basis.

A spokeswoman for Gaelectric said it recognises the wind farm will have an impact on local communities and will set up a fund to benefit projects in the area.

“A locally administered community fund amounting to £210,000 for community projects will be set up which reiterates the company's commitment to engaging fully with local people,” she said. “Gaelectric has also committed to spending up to £5m in construction and operation costs with local companies.”

Newtownabbey councillor Tom Campbell said: “I welcome this announcement and the fact that there are to be employment opportunities in the construction industry.

“This is very good news at a time when other businesses have closed or are at risk of closure in the area.

“The company behind this significant investment in Newtownabbey has made the point that it envisages that its investment will involve local companies and that statement will be widely welcomed here.

“Another bonus to add a smile locally will be the spending commitment of £210,000 on local community projects as presumably a gesture of goodwill and an indication of a willingness on the part of this company to engage meaningfully with the local community”.

Newtownabbey Alderman Nigel Hamilton added: “The real long term benefit for the Carn Hill area will be the £210,000 community fund which will be managed to add environmental/community projects in the area.”

The Gaelectric spokeswoman said the community fund has been designed to make a long-term contribution to local community activities including sports and social clubs, community groups and groups promoting local social sustainability.

A Planning Service spokesman confirmed the plans have been approved.

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