Kerry County Council to develop Renewable Energy Strategy

Kerry County Council is to develop a Renewable Energy Strategy.

The document will cover wind and solar energy and is due to be completed in March.

At the monthly meeting, Kerry councillors called for County Development Plan amendments including a set back distance for wind turbines, and forced a vote on the matter.

There are currently 356 wind turbines erected or under construction in Kerry.

A further 18 are awaiting a decision from An Bord Pleanana or are subject to a judicial review, while 78 turbines have planning but haven’t been constructed.

Cllrs Niall Kelleher, Jimmy Moloney and John Joe Culloty brought forward motions to county council meeting of on wind farm policy.

Councillors called for the County Development Plan to be amended to include a set back distance of 10 times the height of wind turbines from residential developments.

They also want the 80% rule to be extended to the whole county – this stipulates wind farm developments aren’t permitted in the Tralee and Listowel Municipal Districts until 80% of turbines with permission are erected or planning had expired.

Management said councillors couldn’t legally force the Chief Executive to start a review of the County Development Plan, but they voted, based on a proposal by Cllr Kelleher, to get a report on varying the plan.

Council management said they’re in the process of developing a Renewable Energy Strategy for Kerry which will include wind and solar energy.

They hope to have it finished by March, but it can’t be finalised until national guidelines on renewable energy are published; they’ve been delayed for some time but the Minister recently indicated they would be published in the coming weeks.