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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Plans submitted for 14 turbine wind farm on scenic Antrim Coast

Photos: How the Unshinagh Wind Farm would be seen from various aspects.

A planning application has been submitted to the Department for Infrastructure for the construction of a 14-turbine wind farm on the Antrim Coast.

The project is being developed by Larne-based company Renewable Energy Systems (RES) based at Millbrook, the same company that is behind a proposal for Ballygilbert Wind Farm outside Ballygally.

The Unshinagh Wind Farm will be located four kilometres west of Carnlough in the townlands of Drumourne Unshinagh Mountain, if it is given the go-ahead.

RES says that Unshinagh would have the capacity to deliver one of the cheapest forms of new electricity generation for approximately 70,000 homes.

The proposed turbines would stand  up to 180 metres in height with a maximum rotor diameter of up to 136m. The site would include external electricity transformers; underground cabling;  site entrance and access tracks to be put in place during a 12-month construction phase.

RES says that “not only could Unshinagh benefit the local community with a vital economic boost, but it will also create skilled, sustainable jobs and help to drive a cleaner and more resilient economy”, involving a capital expenditure of £61m.

The company has noted that of this sum, £24.7m will be realised within the Northern Ireland economy.

RES has developed and/or constructed 22 onshore wind farms equating to over a quarter of the Province’s onshore wind capacity.

An online exhibition has been held as part of a public consultation for the Carnlough project.

Commenting on the proposal, Coast Road DUP Councillor Andrew Clarke said:

“Despite widespread concerns over the scale and location of the wind farm, there has been no adjustment of the plan from the initial consultation.

“While a neighbouring proposal in Carnalbanagh included a £1.8m community investment, this application contains no recognition of the difficulties caused to local residents. It is a fault in our planning system that by bypassing local council, bigger projects have less incentive in working with local communities.”

There has been an angry reaction on social media to the proposal with the proposed structures being described as “eyesores” and “horrendous”.

It was also stated:  

“I’m concerned that in the race to reduce fossil fuels we are missing the point that we need to use less energy not continue at the current rate. Some of us use more than we really need, and as usual, the landscape, wildlife and ecosystems pay the price.”

A spokesperson for RES said: 

“Due to the amount of clean, low cost electricity a project like Unshinagh Wind Farm could generate, the planning application has been submitted to the Department for Infrastructure. However, Mid & East Antrim Council will be formally consulted on the proposal as part of the planning process.

“Our projects provide a range of significant economic, environmental and social benefits. We also firmly believe that benefits locally should be shaped by the community, based on feedback on local priorities. We therefore continue to welcome any thoughts and ideas for local benefits that can be delivered alongside Unshinagh Wind Farm.”


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