In identifying potential sites, EMPower carried out a desk-based geographical information system (GIS) screening exercise in 2018. This identified all registered environmental designations, protected views, cultural and heritage sites and other areas of special sensitivity. These areas and their surrounds were not considered for future development.
Residential and commercial building locations were attained from Eircode’s database of 2.2 million address points. A buffer of 700m was applied to each building point, provisionally ensuring an adequate setback distance from each dwelling. This produced an output of multiple sites which were suitable in theory for development.
A concerted effort was made at this stage to focus our attention within each County Council’s designated "Open to Consideration" development zones, featured in the latest Kerry County Development Plan.
Prospective sites were subsequently cross referenced against Ireland’s wind resource and electricity grid infrastructure access. This enabled the exclusion of all technically infeasible sites, whether due to insufficient wind resource or being an uneconomic distance from grid.
The proposed Ballynagare Wind Farm is deemed the suitable for development for the following reasons:
Land is designated a ‘open to consideration location’ for wind development in Kerry County Development Plan
Adequate setback distance from housing is achieved
High Wind Speeds
Available grid capacity in surrounding network which can be accessed by on site, negating the need for additional overhead transmission lines