11.5 Wind Energy
11.5 Wind energy
The sun heats the earth unevenly, creating thermal air currents. To achieve equal temperatures around the earth these air pockets move about the earth as global wind. Energy that travels in the wind can be captured and converted to provide electricity through turbines. Turbines can be located onshore and offshore.
The Minster published draft Wind Energy Development guidelines and although the draft Guidelines do not replace or amend the existing Wind Energy Development Guidelines 2006, they do include requirements for Local Authorities when considering policies relating to wind energy.
The draft Guidelines state that the Development Plan is a critical part of translating overall national policy on energy, renewable energy and wind energy in a manner that supports the achievement of Ireland’s binding international obligations relating to climate change and renewable energy and taking account of local circumstances.
It is a specific planning policy requirement under Section 28(1C) of the Act that, in making, reviewing, varying or amending a development plan, or a local area plan, with policies or objectives that relate to wind energy developments, the relevant planning authority shall carry out the following:
- Ensure that overall national policy on renewable energy as contained in documents are acknowledged and documented in the relevant development plan or local area plan. Planning authorities shall, in particular, have regard to the following national plans, policies and strategies when making, reviewing, varying or amending development plan or local area plan policies or objectives that relate to renewable energy, and in particular, wind energy developments:
- The National Renewable Energy Action Plan 2010 (Irish Government submission to the European Commission);
- The Government’s Strategy for Renewable Energy 2012 – 2020 (DCENR);
- The Government’s White Paper on Energy Policy - Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030 (DCENR); and
- The Government’s National Mitigation Plan, July 2017 (DCCAE).
(2) Indicate how the implementation of the relevant development plan or local area plan over its effective period will contribute to realising overall national targets on renewable energy and climate change mitigation, and in particular wind energy production and the potential wind energy resource (in megawatts); and
(3) Demonstrate detailed compliance with item number (2) above in any proposal by them to introduce or vary a mandatory setback distance or distances for wind turbines from specified land uses or classes of land use into their development plan or local area plan. Such a proposal shall be subject to environmental assessment requirements, for example under the SEA and Habitats Directives. It shall also be a material consideration in SEA, when considering likely significant effects on climatic factors, in addition to other factors such as landscape and air, if a mandatory setback or variation to a mandatory setback proposed by a planning authority in a development plan or local area plan would create a significant limitation or constraint on renewable energy projects, including wind turbines, within the administrative area of the plan.