Irish Wind Energy Association rebrands as Wind Energy Ireland

The Irish Wind Energy Association has rebranded as Wind Energy Ireland, as part of a wider brand refresh.

Making the announcement today (Monday, January 25), the organisation said there will be a new visual identity being rolled out on all digital platforms.

It is Ireland’s largest renewable energy organisation, with more than 150 members.

Wind energy is a growing sector in Ireland, and this country is number one in the world for the share of electricity demand met by onshore wind, according to Wind Energy Ireland.

There are just under 400 wind farms on the island of Ireland; with just over 300 of them in the Republic of Ireland.

Wind power generated 43% of total monthly electricity demand in December 2020, according to Gas Networks Ireland.

Contribution to communities

In 2019, energy efficiency projects and third level scholarships, sports clubs, active retired groups and local festivals were some of the schemes to benefit from almost €3.5 million in community investment from Irish wind farms.

Wind Energy Ireland’s wind energy community benefit report 2019 identified the top five counties for wind energy community benefit funding, with Co. Galway leading the way with €831,860; followed by Co. Cork on €424,740; Co. Roscommon on €334,600; Co. Tipperary on €258,700; and Co. Limerick on €243,250.

Dr. David Connolly, CEO of the organisation, said he is very proud of the contribution that the association makes to supporting local communities across Ireland and is “constantly impressed by the dedication, enthusiasm and imagination we meet in local communities”.

“Without this support, many fantastic local projects would struggle to find alternative funding and it is critical that communities see tangible benefits from renewables as part of the just transition away from fossil fuels,” Dr. Connolly said.

Local communities deserve to benefit from the construction and operation of local wind farms.

“Wind energy continues to be Ireland’s most valuable tool in the fight against climate change. The more clean energy we can generate for our homes, farms, schools and businesses, the less we rely on fossil fuels and the more we can invest in supporting communities.”

According to the organisation, wind farms also pay approximately €40 million each year to local councils.

Offshore wind

The organisation has previously warned that the next two years are “critical” for Ireland’s offshore wind energy targets.

It has said that what the government does over the next two years will decide “whether Ireland reaches its 2030 climate action targets”.

Dr. Connolly said that if a project does not have planning permission by the end of 2025, “it will not be built by the end of the decade”.

“It is as simple as that – which means today, we are on course to fail unless immediate action is taken,” Dr. Connolly said.

We have the pipeline to deliver our 2030 target with more than 16GW of offshore projects at some stage of development off the coast of Ireland.

“But we do not have a planning regime for offshore wind; there is no system for projects to connect to the electricity grid and no way for them to sell their power on the market.”

‘Communities end up having to take in these imposing wind farms for no good reason’

However, there are communities around the country who feel that in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, they are “having to take in these enormous, imposing wind farms for no good reason”.

This is according to Daryl Kennedy, spokesperson for the Delvin Raharney Ballivor Wind Action Group in Co. Westmeath.

The group is made up of locals trying to get “right, balanced information to the communities” before the planning applications for wind farms are lodged, which is expected next year.

Turbines are being proposed for lands at Bracklyn and Ballivor, by two different companies – Galetech and Bord na Móna.

The proposed turbines would be the largest in Ireland if permission is granted, at possible heights of around 200m.

“The community has been on alert for several years,” Kennedy tells AgriLand.