In identifying potential sites, EMPower carried out a desk-based geographical information system (GIS) screening exercise in 2018. This identified all registered environmental designations, protected views, cultural and heritage sites and other areas of special sensitivity. These areas and their surrounds were not considered for future development.
Residential and commercial building locations were attained from Eircode’s database of 2.2 million address points. A buffer was applied to each building point, provisionally ensuring an adequate setback distance from each dwelling. This produced an output of multiple sites which were suitable in theory for development.
A concerted effort was made at this stage to focus our attention on development within each County Council’s designated “Preferred Site Search Zones”.
Prospective sites were subsequently cross referenced against Ireland’s wind resource and electricity grid infrastructure. This enabled the exclusion of sites, due to insufficient wind resource or being an uneconomic distance from grid.
Of all short-listed sites, Coumnagappul was considered the most viable option. It was deemed the preferred site location for the following reasons:
Land is designated a ‘preferred location’ for wind development in Waterford County Development Plan
High Wind Speeds
Low population density allowing a significant setback distance from residential housing.
Available grid capacity in surrounding network which can be accessed by underground cable