Environmental protection

Coillte take pride in our leadership position amongst wind farm developers in Ireland. We work hard to ensure that we are best in class and that our developments reflect this. Environmental protection including biodiversity are at the core of our sustainable business processes from commercial forestry through to wind farm development. We ensure that our projects conform to or exceed all statutory requirements and best practice guidelines in relation to environmental protection.

Why this Site?

Identifying a site suitable for a wind farm encompasses several considerations. Suitability of the Croagh site can be attributed to the following characteristics:
• The site is not designated as a Natura 2000 site (i.e. Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or a Special Protection Area (SPA )) or a Natural Heritage Area (NHA).
• The site is located close to an existing substation (Garvagh Glebe) for connection to the National Electricity Grid.
• The site has good annual average wind speeds.
• A significant setback from houses can be achieved. (There is one occupied dwelling located within 1 kilometre of the nearest proposed turbine).
• There is a network of existing forestry roads within the site that can be utilised.

Why this Site?

The Site Design Process

The design process for the proposed development was constraints led. Effectively, this means that certain areas of the site were “off limits” due to the established constraints or buffer zones applied to wind farm design and development.
The constraints map for the site was produced following a desk study of all site constraints, including the following associated buffers specifically in relation to the wind turbines:

• Dwelling Locations plus 750-metre buffer;
• Designated sites plus 100-metre buffer;
• Rivers plus 100-metre buffer;
• Streams plus 50-metre buffer;
• Lakes plus 50-metre buffer;
• Recorded Archaeological Site and Monuments plus 50-metre buffer;
• Telecommunication Links plus operator-specific buffer;
• Overhead Electricity Transmission Lines plus 3 x Proposed Rotor Diameter buffer;
• Existing wind turbine plus 4 x Rotor Diameter setback.

A turbine layout was then developed to take account of all the constraints mentioned above and their associated buffer zones and the separation distance required between the turbines.
The location and alignment of the associated infrastructure, such as roading, crane hard stands and substation, was then developed following confirmation of the turbine layout. In addition to the above, the locations of the proposed wind turbines and all other proposed infrastructure locations have been informed by rigorous site investigations and assessments carried out over a two year period including:

• Ecological Surveys
• Ornithological Surveys
• Geotechnical, Hydrological and Geological Site Investigations
• Shadow Flicker Modelling
• Noise Modelling
• Archaeological Surveys
• Landscape and Visual Assessment
• Wind Resource Modelling

The constraints map has been continuously updated throughout the development design process based on the findings of each of the site investigations and assessments that have been completed.
Maps showing these constraints are available here:
Set back distance
Noise monitoring locations
Combined constraints and viable area
Environmental constraints
Infrastructure and Telecoms constraints
Site Layout

 

Project Development Timeline

Oct 2017

General ecological studies commence in the wider study area

Jun 2018

Engagement begins with the near neighbours

Jul 2018

Meteorological wind measuring mast scoping studies progress

Sep 2018

Environmental Impact Assessment Team selected

Sep 2018

Meteorological wind measuring mast erection

Oct 2018

Environmental impact assessment studies commence

Dec 2018

Detailed environmental and engineering studies begin

Feb 2019

Landscape and visual assessment commences

May 2019

First stage design complete

Jun 2019

Site investigations continue

Sep 2019

Second stage design complete

Dec 2019

Impact and mitigation assessment and reviews continue throughout Autumn/Winter 2019

Jul 2020

Lodge Planning Permission Application