Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland jobs boost as planners 'green light' to Cregganconroe windfarm

A £18m windfarm development in Co Tyrone has been given the green light by planners, creating up to 20 construction jobs.

The complex will consist of five wind turbines and will be capable of generating energy equivalent to the average annual electricity consumption of approximately 6,500 homes.

The 11.5 megawatt Cregganconroe wind farm in Pomeroy is one of a number of projects that Irish energy company Gaelectric has planned in Northern Ireland, which together total approximately 130MW.

The company said it had committed to spending over £3.5m in project costs on construction and operations with local companies.

Brendan McGrath, chief executive of Gaelectric, said the company had been working on planning for a range of sites in Tyrone and Antrim for a number of years.

"The Cregganconroe approval is a further important step for Gaelectric and represents our second planning success in Northern Ireland this year," he said.

"Gaelectric plans to continue its high level of investment in Northern Ireland over the coming years.

"To achieve this we need an efficient planning system that has sufficient resources to deal with the current workload.

"It is critical that Planning Service staff that have built up a level of hard-learned expertise in this specialist area are not now redeployed in the current Northern Ireland civil service reorganisation.

"Policy makers must insure that renewable energy, which is an indigenous industry, is properly resourced," said Mr McGrath.

"Only by investing in this area will its green jobs potential be fully realised in a timely manner."

Gaelelectric said it had set up a community fund which would give around £210,000 for community projects.

Gaelectric currently has 25 projects at different stages of development on the island of Ireland.

Gaelectric's first wind farm in Roscommon is expected to be commissioned by the end of this year.

Earlier this year the company was granted planning permission to build six 101 metre high turbines on land just off the Slievetrue and Rea Hill Roads in Newtownabbey.

Work at Carn Hill is due to start in the middle of next year and is expected to take four to six months.

Gaelectric is a group of companies in the renewable power generation and energy storage sectors.