Renewable energy and energy storage group, Gaelectric, has officially opened its £13.4million wind farm at Cloonty, Co Antrim.
Located near Bushmills, the 9.2MW wind farm is Gaelectric’s fouth operating wind farm in the province as it progresses through a programme to construct and commission a business capable of generating approximately 400MWs of wind energy on the island of Ireland by 2017.
Cloonty wind farm comprises four Enercon wind turbines, with a maximum blade tip height of 110 metres. It will generate sufficient green renewable power to meet the electricity demand of over 5,000 homes on an annual basis.
The farm will not only boost Northern Ireland’s renewable energy generation capacity, but will also create jobs, support workforce skills and contribute to economic activity in the area. To date, the project has created over 20 full time and part time jobs during its development and construction phase.
“This opening marks yet another important milestone for our business and further strengthens Gaelectric’s platform in the energy market,” said Patrick McClughan, head of corporate affairs.
“Our total permitted portfolio now stands at 140 MWs in Northern Ireland and represents a total investment of approx £170 million.
“This consolidates Gaelectric’s position as the largest indigenous renewable energy company in Northern Ireland, and we are proud to make a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s renewable energy targets.”
Gaelectric has now secured planning approval for nine Northern Ireland wind farm developments. The first at Carn Hill, Newtownabbey, opened in May 2013, followed by Dunbeg, between Limavady and Coleraine, and Monnaboy on Loughermore mountain, Co Londonderry.
The firm is also leading the development of energy storage in Northern Ireland with a unique compressed air energy storage (CAES) facility in Larne, Co Antrim using compressed air stored in caverns capable of generating up to 330 MW of power for periods of between six to eight hours, enough to meet the electricity needs of over 200,000 homes.