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Oriel developer frustrated at planning barriers

The developer of one of the most ambitious wind farm developments in Ireland has expressed frustration at the planning process for renewable energy projects. Brian Britton is co-founder and managing director of Oriel Windfarm, which hopes to build an offshore wind farm with 55 turbines off the north-east coast close to Dundalk. The project has been under development for four years and is at the final stage of the planning process.

The developer of one of the most ambitious wind farm developments in Ireland has expressed frustration at the planning process for renewable energy projects.

Brian Britton is co-founder and managing director of Oriel Windfarm, which hopes to build an offshore wind farm with 55 turbines off the north-east coast close to Dundalk. The project has been under development for four years and is at the final stage of the planning process.

If it gets the go-ahead, it will cost about 900 million and will create about 550 construction jobs, according to Britton.

He said that Oriel had a team of financial advisers in place to raise funding and the wind farm could be in operation and connected to the national grid in five years.

His firm estimates that the completed wind farm could generate 330 megawatts of power - enough to power 250,000 homes. However, the development of the project has been slowed by what Britton described as one of ‘‘the most rigorous processes in Europe'' for offshore wind farms.

Oriel started looking for the best location for its wind farm four years ago and an environmental impact statement for a site 22 kilometres off the coast of Dundalk was... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The developer of one of the most ambitious wind farm developments in Ireland has expressed frustration at the planning process for renewable energy projects.

Brian Britton is co-founder and managing director of Oriel Windfarm, which hopes to build an offshore wind farm with 55 turbines off the north-east coast close to Dundalk. The project has been under development for four years and is at the final stage of the planning process.

If it gets the go-ahead, it will cost about €900 million and will create about 550 construction jobs, according to Britton.

He said that Oriel had a team of financial advisers in place to raise funding and the wind farm could be in operation and connected to the national grid in five years.

His firm estimates that the completed wind farm could generate 330 megawatts of power - enough to power 250,000 homes. However, the development of the project has been slowed by what Britton described as one of ‘‘the most rigorous processes in Europe'' for offshore wind farms.

Oriel started looking for the best location for its wind farm four years ago and an environmental impact statement for a site 22 kilometres off the coast of Dundalk was completed by February 2007. Since then, Oriel has dealt with 15 government bodies. It has been waiting for a ministerial signoff on the project since last November, according to Britton.

‘‘I'm feeling very frustrated at the moment, and I think these projects need to be brought under critical infrastructure legislation," he said.

‘‘By November 2007, 14 of the 15 government agencies had signed off on this, but then we had to wait ten months for the National Parks and Wildlife service to come back to us."

Britton said that Oriel had dealt with four government departments so far on its project. ‘‘Last November, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said it would be back to us within two months, but we're still in discussions," he said.

‘‘Lack of resources in these state bodies seems to be the key problem. If there is serious political will for a stimulus to develop the renewables sector here, questions need to be asked about a process that's taking five years."

Plans for a total of five offshore wind farms are at various stages of the planning process. Collectively, they could generate 2,160 megawatts of power and would represent an investment of €5 billion to €6 billion


Source: http://www.sbpost.ie/post/p...

MAR 29 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19623-oriel-developer-frustrated-at-planning-barriers
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