Ireland’s Rural Protests Over Wind Energy
By Diarmaid Fleming
Ireland is short of money but not wind, which now forms a central plank of its energy policy.
But plans to develop wind power and export it to Britain are sparking a rural revolt, with local protest groups uniting through social media.
Some claim Ireland will become a wind farm for Britain.
Turbines up to 180m (590ft) tall – half the height of the Empire State Building – are cropping up as part of a drive to meet EU green energy targets and generate 40% of Ireland’s electricity from wind.
Revenue, too, will flow by exporting power to Britain under inter-governmental plans.
More than 100 opposition groups have sprung up against new wind farms – all in rural areas – claiming the turbines will ruin the landscape, with noise and shadows blighting homes nearby.
Some have joined forces with groups opposing planned new electricity pylons to upgrade the national power grid.
Wind energy companies say they follow strict Irish planning guidelines, now under review due to new larger turbines and local opposition.
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