WIND­FARM PRO­POSAL FOR BOTTLEHILL SU­PER DUMP

The Corkman - - FRONT PAGE - BILL BROWNE

A PLAN to de­velop a wind­farm on a por­tion of the moth­balled €48 mil­lion Bottlehill ‘su­per dump’ in north Cork is be­ing con­sid­ered by An Bord Pleanála.

Cana­dian com­pany Brook­field Re­new­able (Ire­land) Ltd, in con­junc­tion with Coillte, has com­menced pre-ap­pli­ca­tion con­sul­ta­tions with the ap­peals board for the de­vel­op­ment, with the pro­posal con­sist­ing of up to 27 wind tur­bines with as­so­ci­ated works at Knock­doorty, Glan­na­sack.

Louis Duffy, head of Cork County Coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­ment direc­torate, told The Cork­man that, if given the green light, the wind­farm would take up ap­prox­i­mately 25 per cent of the Bottlehill site.

“We in­vested heav­ily in in­fra­struc­ture for waste man­age­ment at Bottlehill and while we have not yet dis­cussed fi­nan­cial terms for the use of our land, we would wel­come a rea­son­able re­turn from any de­vel­op­ment there,” said Mr Duffy.

“We would not be go­ing ahead with the pro­ject if it did not bring some value for money to the coun­cil.

Mr Duffy said this could be the first of a num­ber of new de­vel­op­ments at Bottlehill.

“A num­ber of pro­jects have been brought to us. We will see if this wind farm goes ahead with­out com­pro­mis­ing the site be­fore mak­ing de­ci­sions on pro­gress­ing any fu­ture pro­jects there.”

A CANA­DIAN com­pany has com­menced pre-ap­pli­ca­tion con­sul­ta­tions with An Bord Pleanála with a view to de­vel­op­ing a wind farm on part of the moth­balled ‘su­per dump’ at Bottlehill.

Brook­field Re­new­able (Ire­land) Ltd has lodged a pro­posal, in con­junc­tion with Coillte, with the board for a de­vel­op­ment con­sist­ing of up to 27 wind tur­bines with as­so­ci­ated sub­sta­tion com­pounds, bat­tery stor­age units with an­cil­lary and elec­tri­cal in­fra­struc­ture at Knock­doorty, Glan­na­sack.

De­vel­oped at a cost of €48 mil­lion, the Bottlehill land­fill fa­cil­ity was ini­tially sched­uled to open in 2010. How­ever, Cork County Coun­cil deemed it to be eco­nom­i­cally un­vi­able due to a sur­plus of land­fill space in Cork, com­bined with an in­crease in EU levies on land­fill.

This left the au­thor­ity with a mas­sive fi­nan­cial headache with the coun­cil shelling thou­sands of eu­ros each year to main­tain the site.

In March of last year the coun­cil con­firmed dis­cus­sions were at an ad­vanced stage with Brook­field Re­new­able to take over a por­tion of the site for a wind farm. It was one of a num­ber of bids be­ing con­sid­ered for the site af­ter the coun­cil is­sued a call for pro­pos­als through the Of­fice Jour­nal of the Eu­ro­pean Union.

At the time Louis Duffy, head of the coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­ment direc­torate, said full de­tails of any de­vel­op­ment in­clud­ing the num­ber, type and lay­out of the tur­bines, would be de­ter­mined through a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion process be­tween lo­cal res­i­dents, stake­hold­ers and Brook­field Re­new­able.

It was also un­der­stood that Brook­field Re­new­able had also com­menced dis­cus­sions with ad­join­ing landown­ers, in­clud­ing Coillte, in re­la­tion to po­ten­tial en­ergy re­lated pro­jects in the wider area out­side of the land­fill site.

The Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment (Strate­gic In­fra­struc­ture) Act 2006, pro­vides for ap­pli­ca­tions for per­mis­sion/ap­proval for spec­i­fied pri­vate and pub­lic strate­gic in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ments to be made di­rectly to the board. These gen­er­ally re­late to ma­jor en­ergy, trans­port, en­vi­ron­men­tal and health pro­jects.

The pro­vi­sions of the act pro­vide for pre-ap­pli­ca­tion con­sul­ta­tions and the dis­cre­tionary scop­ing of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact As­sess­ment Re­port (EIAR) prior to the for­mal lodg­ing of a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion with An Bord Pleanála.

It is not yet known when a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the wind farm will be for­mally lodged.

Speak­ing to The Cork­man this week, Mr Duffy said that as such, the au­thor­ity was a step away from the plan­ning process but would wel­come any use of the site that would gen­er­ate in­come for the coun­cil.

He said the Bottlehill fa­cil­ity was orig­i­nally de­signed in such a way that it had a pe­riph­eral area away from land­fill ac­tiv­ity for the de­vel­op­ment of pro­jects that could work hand in hand with it.

“As such, the wind farm would take up ap­prox­i­mately 25% of our site, with the re­main­der of it on ad­ja­cent lands. We in­vested heav­ily in in­fra­struc­ture for waste man­age­ment at Bottlehill and while we have not yet dis­cussed fi­nan­cial terms for the use of our land, we would wel­come a rea­son­able re­turn from any de­vel­op­ment there,” said Mr Duffy.

“We would not be go­ing ahead with the pro­ject if it did not bring some value for money to the coun­cil,” he added.

Mr Duffy said this could be the first of a num­ber of new de­vel­op­ments at the Bottlehill site.

“A num­ber of pro­jects have been brought to us. We will see if this wind farm goes ahead with­out com­pro­mis­ing the site be­fore mak­ing de­ci­sions on pro­gress­ing any fu­ture pro­jects there,” he said.

Bottlehill could host up to 27 wind tur­bines.

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