Belfast Telegraph

Capacity increased by new wind farms

By Clare Weir

Two new wind farms have been opened in Co Tyrone.

The wind farms on Crighshane and Church Hill near Killeter will generate 50.6 megawatts (MW), representing a 12% increase in Northern Ireland's total operating wind farm capacity to 448MW in a £60m investment.

The facilities are majority owned by the Irish Infrastructure Fund established by Irish Life Investment Managers, and managed by AMP Capital.

They were developed and operated by Energia Renewables, which will sell the electricity generated to business customers throughout Ireland.

Energia has approximately 28% share of the Irish business electricity market supplying the energy needs of over 60,000 business customers and the company also operates 747MW of gas fired power stations in north Dublin.

Energia is a member of the Viridian Group and has offices in Belfast, Omagh, Dublin, Galway and Cork.

Peter Baillie, managing director at Energia Renewables, said the company has consistently been one of the largest investors in the renewable sector.

"We have invested €200m (£161m) in the last two years in over 100MW of wind farm developments and we are also supporting third party wind generator investments of €600m (£483m) in more than 450MW of wind farms throughout Ireland through long-term off-take agreements," he said.

"We want to extend a big thank you to the local community for the support it has given these wind farms; this is a very positive and significant step forward for renewable energy in Northern Ireland and local support for the project is a key element to their success.

"All of our wind farm developments bring substantial benefits to the local economies, including jobs, increased rates for the local authorities and improvements to local infrastructure such as roads.

"We are also pleased to announce that the local community will benefit from the Irish Infrastructure and Energia community fund, which will shortly open for applications.

"The first year of the fund will welcome applications up to £50,600 from within the local area, and is expected to contribute around £800,000 to the local community over the lifetime of the wind farms."

The launch was part of an open day hosted by Energia at the wind farm, which allowed school children and members of the public to tour the wind generators, hand paint the turbines and see presentations on the technology and impact of wind power.