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Dozens of Irish wind farms face shutdown without planning reforms

Wind Energy Ireland has warned that outdated planning decisions could force many wind farms to close, risking 20% of Ireland’s wind energy capacity and hindering climate goals

The Irish wind energy sector has raised concerns about the potential closure of numerous wind farms due to outdated planning regulations.

Wind Energy Ireland warns that without urgent government intervention, around 20% of Ireland’s wind energy capacity could be lost by the end of the decade.

This would jeopardise the nation’s Climate Action Plan targets and increase reliance on energy imports.

The alarm comes as Wind Energy Ireland publishes a report, “Repowering Ireland: How we stay global leaders in onshore wind energy,” produced by planning and environmental consultancy MKO.

The report highlights that up to 76 wind farms, with a combined capacity of 854MW, will reach the end of their planning permissions by 2030.

If these farms cannot extend their permissions or repower, they will be decommissioned, leading to higher carbon dioxide emissions, increased electricity prices and greater dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Noel Cunniffe, Chief Executive Officer of Wind Energy Ireland, said: “The government must act. The Irish planning process continues to be the greatest barrier to the decarbonisation of our electricity system and to our country’s energy independence.

“The continuing extremely slow rate of approvals for new projects means that, unless the proposals in this report are given the priority they deserve, we face the very real likelihood that by the late 2020s we will be connecting fewer wind farms than we will be shutting down.”

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