£50m Tyrone wind farm will begin powering up homes by end of summer
A £50 million wind farm project along a remote part of the Tyrone-Donegal border is nearing completion.
Castlecraig Wind Farm, which has 10 German-made 125 metre turbines, will be up and running by the end of the summer.
The original application for the project dates to 2006 and sought permission to build 25 turbines each up to 127 metres high at the site nine miles from Castlederg.
Owned by sustainable infrastructure investor NTR, the company said it will produce enough energy to meet the needs of 18,500-plus homes annually.
The project has been financed with support from First Trust Bank, and is being managed by RES, the world's largest independent renewable energy company.
RES is involved in more than 100 wind farms, including a number scattered throughout Northern Ireland.
The company, which is headquartered in Kings Langley, England, will continue to manage the project over the next 25 years.
Construction started in June 2017, with a number of local firms involved.
They included Adman from Omagh, which undertook the civil construction works; B McCaffrey & Sons Ltd and Colton Quarries, which provided stone; Tracey Concrete from Enniskillen; Lisburn based Mar-Train Heavy Haulage, along with staff from Barton Industrial Services and Omexom from its Belfast offices.
NTR programme manager Martin Sweeney said: "We are delighted to see construction successfully completed at Castlecraig Wind Farm thanks to the hard work of all our partners, including RES and its suppliers.
"The expertise of the team, coupled with the recent good weather, saw an average of two turbines erected each week, a fantastic feat, bringing the project ahead of schedule.
"NTR is selective about the markets, technology and contractors we work with, and we have been impressed by the performance and expertise demonstrated by all the businesses involved in this development."
He said that its advisers at First Trust "know the local contractors and suppliers we are working with and this first-hand sectoral experience is always a benefit when it comes to a diverse development like this".
First Trust said Castlecraig was the latest in a series of renewable projects it had supported. Alongside single turbine developments with Simple Power and anaerobic digestors, the bank said it had funded over 150MW worth of energy.
First Trust's Fionnuala Brennan said: "It's great to see Castlecraig hit this significant milestone and we are proud to have supported the construction of a key infrastructure project that is enabling substantial inward investment to the local area and across Northern Ireland.
"For projects like this, we often find that businesses think they have to go to Dublin or elsewhere in the UK to get the industry and financial sectoral expertise they need.
"We, however, have an expert energy team on the ground, as we are keen to support the transition to a low carbon economy. We can play a major role in addressing this issue by how we run our bank, how we invest in our own business and in how we support our customers.
"Whether it's small or large-scale onshore wind projects, anaerobic digestors or solar projects, we have helped many local businesses harness the power of renewable technologies."