Section 6: Environment and Climate Change
Question: Should the Development Plan give positive support to the development of renewable energy at the expense of other considerations?
Question: How can Kilkenny best tailor its policies on renewable energy to support the renewable energy industry but also protect the landscape’s amenity and ecology
Renewable energy at the expense of other considerations
The Development Plan should give support to the development of renewable energy but does not need to be supported through the dilution of amenity or environmental considerations. It can be carried out in harmony with such considerations at suitable locations. A wind farm is an environmental asset in itself and as an example, a 100MW wind farm would reduce carbon emissions by 140,000 tonnes (per annum) and contribute significantly to Ireland’s national and EU targets for a low carbon economy and towards security of energy supply.
Kilkenny County Council can best tailor its policies on renewable energy to support the renewable energy industry but also protect the landscape’s amenity and ecology by assessing the landscape character and receiving environment. The positive aspects of a wind farm need to be balanced against visual impact considerations in sensitive locations but, by and large, Kilkenny’s landscape is manmade and seasonally changing and the County’s natural landscapes mainly comprise lowlands along the River Nore and the River Barrow.
For example, a landscape and visual impact Statement prepared by MarcroWorks Ltd for ART Generation Ltd, found the current wind energy to be overly cautious and excessively constrained for certain parts of the county. For some areas, they concluded that the land form and land use context could readily accommodate much larger wind energy developments (than currently provided for). Similar assessments should ensure that Kilkenny County Council can tailor its policies on renewable energy while protecting the landscape’s amenity and ecology.