A 60-metre high wind turbine – the first urban turbine in Ireland – on the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) campus has been officially switched on by Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern TD.
The turbine will be used in the DKIT’s new Renewable Energy Systems MSc programme and will pay for itself in eight years and cut college electricity bills in half from day one.
The turbine cost €1.1m and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 1,100 tonnes annually compared to gas-fired generation. The turbine is the first large commercial wind turbine on a college campus in the world and is expected to produce enough electricity to provide 50pc of DKIT’s requirements and when it exceeds DKIT’s demand it will feed electricity into the local grid.
“The turbine is being commissioned this week, after a one-month delay to replace an incorrectly supplied transformer. It will produce a small amount of electricity this week and then commence full operation next week,” said Larry Staudt, manager of DKIT’s Centre for Renewable Energy.
DKIT established the Centre for Renewable Energy in 2002 with the aim of assisting Ireland’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy through research, academic programmes and information dissemination. The on-campus turbine will allow students to gain direct experience with the turbine technology.
After a successful feasibility study, the Centre for Renewable Energy attracted partial funding for the project from Sustainable Energy Ireland and planning permission was received in June 2003, following a period of consultation. A contract for the turbine was awarded to Vestas Celtic Wind Technology in December 2004.
By Brian Skelly