€70m wind farm construction starts in Dunbeg, Co Derry

22 Jan 2014

Irish energy company Gaelectric has started construction on one of the largest wind-energy initiatives on the island with a power output of 42MW in Dunbeg, Co Derry.

The construction of the 14 Enercon wind turbines expected to power more than 24,000 homes in the area is expected to be fully operational by the middle of 2014.

The company has nine wind-farm projects at various stages in Northern Ireland. The company officially opened its first operational wind farm, Carn Hill, in Northern Ireland, in May 2013 at a cost of €24m.

In the long term, Gaelectric intend to roll out 200MW of wind energy across the island at a cost of €730m by 2017.

Long-term importance

Speaking about the construction of Dunbeg wind farm, Gaelectric’s commercial manager in Northern Ireland Patrick McClughan said he sees this as the first step towards the island becoming more self-reliant on energy, as well as a creator of more jobs.

“The commencement of construction of our Dunbeg site marks yet another milestone for our business in Northern Ireland and further strengthens Gaelectric’s platform in the energy market.

“Dunbeg will not only provide a significant boost to Northern Ireland’s renewable-energy capacity, it will also generate jobs, support increased workforce skills and provide economic activity in the area.”

The company has made significant developments in energy storage with the development of a compressed air energy storage (CAES) facility in Larne, Co Antrim.

Due to its unique geology, Larne has the potential to be at the cutting edge of energy storage using CAES technology. 

This energy storage facility will maximise the potential of renewable energy, while helping to stabilise electricity prices and emissions of greenhouse gases. 

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic