A so-called 'community wind farm' proposal ran into trouble in Co Waterford last month after the community for which it is intended came out strongly against the project.
BSB Community Energy Ltd., claiming to be “100% community-owned”, presented itself in a press release as being “established by a substantial number (50+) of local people in the Bunmahon, Stradbally and Ballylaneen area of the county”.
However, at a meeting on 14 November attended by around 600 local people, the proposal was examined in detail and overwhelmingly rejected. As a result a planned public consultation by the project's backers was cancelled.
The proposed windfarm would comprise eleven turbines, set back just a minimum of 500m from people's homes. The meeting, organised by Mahon Valley Against Turbines, heard emotional accounts from people whose lives have been affected by nearby wind turbines.
The group's chairwoman Ann Troy said afterwards, “The feedback from those attending was very positive, and the general opinion relayed back to us as a committee was that the presentation of facts, and the explanation of the process in detail, was both professional and factual.” She added, “This could never be a community project with such a show of resistance and people power.”
Retired law lecturer Neil van Dokkum, who blogs regularly about wind developments wrote about this proposal when it was first announced in early November.
He commented, “BSB Community Energy is registered with the CRO as having a share capital of €100 000.00 comprising of 100 000 shares of €1 each. Does this mean that the two directors, Paddy Power and Harry Grey, will each get one share, along with 99998 other 'local people'? Or will it be that a handful of people will own most of the shares (and the profits) and the community will be left with the crumbs under the table in return for a wrecked community?”
Ann Troy said Mahon Valley Against Turbines plan to contact BSB in an “official capacity”. She said: “We as a committee will be contacting BSB in an official capacity, representing the concerns, fears, worries and will of the community, to issue a statement of intent so that the public are aware of further plans.
We will continue to stay in touch with our community and work on the high level of support publicly declared on this contentious issue. We don’t see why the people of the community should endure continuing lack of information and regard from this wind farm company. Elderly residents are anxious and afraid, parents who are working hard to pay mortgages on their homes are now worried that they might expose their children and families to health risks and unnecessary stress,” she added.
There is plenty of opposition to Ireland's legal framework for wind development, which has been prioritised by Ireland's commitments to the Paris agreement on climate.
It is a nationwide problem, as TD Robert Troy said last year: “There is intense community debate ongoing across Longford and Westmeath in areas where wind farms have been proposed for development. People in the affected communities are attempting to make sure that the windfarms are safe and do not cause disruption to the local environment. In particular people have serious concerns about the noise, setbacks and shadow flicker aspects of proposed wind farms.”